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80072 was built at Brighton Works in November 1953, at an official cost of £17,324 which is about a tenth of the cost of restoring the locomotive.

80072 started its life on the Eastern Region working on the London, Tilbury and Southend Line (LT&S) working commuter services out of London until that route was electrified in 1962. Most of the steam engines were transferred away immediately, but 80072 and a few others remained in London for a month or so and were used to shunt empty carriages to/from Liverpool Street Station.

It then became part of the Western Region fleet when it was transferred to Swansea East Dock. It worked on services in West Wales and was also used over the Central Wales Line to Craven Arms and Shrewsbury.

80072 did not stay long at Swansea, however, being transferred to Leamington Spa in September 1963, to replace Standard class 4MT 4-6-0 locomotive75000. 80072 was intended to be used on parcels trains and shunting duties, but was actually used on a much wider range of work. Duties at Leamington included, in addition to parcels traffic to Birmingham and Nuneaton, passenger trains to/from Birmingham Snow Hill station, and freight workings such as iron-ore trains from the Oxfordshire iron-ore mines. Later, 80072 was also used on car trains.

It then moved to Leamingon Spa at the same time that that depot was transferred to London Midland Region ownership along with Shrewsbury from where the engine was withdrawn from service in July 1965.

Motive power depot allocations.

Date ArrivedDepot
November 1953Plaistow
January 1954Tilbury
July 1962Swansea East Dock
September 1963Leamington Spa
June 1965Shrewsbury

After withdrawal it was sold to Woodham Brothers at Barry for scrap and arrived at the scrapyard in January 1966. There it remained almost twice as long as it ran in service until after 22 years in left the scrapyard in July 1988. By the time it left many parts were missing and had suffered much corrosion after being out in the open for so long.

There was no chimney, motion, pistons, gears or springs left: even the cab roof was torn off to be used on another preserved member of the class.

Early in 1988 a chartered surveyor, Ray Treadwell, and his wife Elaine, were looking for a engine to buy and discovered 80072. A reserve already placed on the engine was successfully challenged and purchase completed.

Ray had originally intended to take the engine to Brighton but shunting difficulties over the third rail there deterred him and he turned to Swindon, who were willing to take it. So rusted up was 80072, that loading at Barry was difficult and it had to be thoroughly oiled before it could be unloaded at Swindon. When being unloaded the engine broke through the chocks and ran free into the middle of the yard.

Swindon had been planned as temporary resting place but it proved to be more than that as 80072 could be dismantled which would not have been possible at Brighton.

Ray and Elaine were also trying to restore a pannier tank at this time so they decided to seek others to restore 80072. This led to the formation of the Llangollen Standard Four Project, as it was acknowledged by some of the Llangollen Railway members that this kind of engine would be an asset to their line.

The Llangollen Standard Four Project quickly raised the funds required as they were aware of of other groups being interest in purchasing 80072.

The engine was secured while Ray and Elaine became partners in the scheme.

The engine had already been dismantled when the Project team moved into Swindon. The engine resided on the premises of the now Swindon Locomotive, Carriage and Wagon Company set up in the old GWR works.

Getting the engine apart in the first place had not been easy. Frame stretchers needed replacement or repair, strengthening had to be done in some places and a bent back-end had to be straightened (probably form a heavy shunt in BR days). Axle box liners were cracked and had to welded or replaced.

The driving wheels had been retyred by the time the group became involved but the broken wheelset had to be replaced with the new wheel hubs. Despite the extent and cost of the work it was decided to restore the locomotive to a standard which would leave options open for it to be used on main line duties in the future.

The frames were thoroughly cleaned and six coats of paint applied. Axle boxes were remetalled, journals machined and the engine made ready to receive her driving wheels back.

By the summer of 1995 the engine was a rolling chassis again and in July of that year it was moved by road to the old goods shed at Llangollen. This enabled work to start on fabricating and fitting the parts needed to hang the new springs.

Also transported at the same time with the engine had been the other axle boxes and wheels together with the repaired set. Assembly now took place returning the engine from an 0-6-0 to a 2-6-4.

With the completion of the new locomotive shed at Llangollen including its restoration roads 80072 was be removed from the depths of the goods shed in the Autumn of 1996.

80072 was returned to steam in 2009 on the Llangollen Railway.

The locomotive spent the 2017 summer season on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

2018 was to have been its final year of service before the locomotive was withdrawn from traffic as the boiler certificate expired on the 1st January 2019. In the event the certificate was extended until June 2019.

At the end of June 2019 the locomotive was taken out of service at the Llangollen Railway when the boiler certificate expired. The locomotive requires a full boiler overhaul and the tanks and bunker will need to be replaced at an estimated cost of £85,000.

By June 2021 the bunker had been removed and sent to a local engineering firm to act as a pattern for a new build bunker. The water tanks will be removed for renewal as funds allow.

In October the boiler was lifted off the frames so that the tubes could be removed.

Home BaseCurrent StatusOwner
Llangollen RailwayUnder overhaul80072 Steam Locomotive Co Ltd
80072 at Tilbury where it was based from January 1954 until July 1962
80072 at Leamington shed – July 1964
80072 on Banbury shed – June 1965
80072 in Woodhams scrapyard at Barry – August 1975
80072 in Woodham’s scrapyard at Barry – March 1988
80072 at Burrs Country Park on the East Lancashire Railway – February 2011
80072 behind 80080 at Heywood on the East Lancashire Railway – February 2011
80072 with 78019 at Llangollen – September 2011
80072 behind 4566 at Bewdley on the Severn Valley Railway – March 2013
80072 at Bewdley on the Severn Valley Railway – March 2013
80072 at Highley on the Severn Valley Railway – March 2013
80072 near Glyndyfrdwy on the Llangollen Railway – April 2013
80072 at Llangollen – August 2017
80072 at Minehead on the West Somerset Railway – September 2018
80072 under overhaul at Llangollen – June 2021

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