Hawthorn Leslie     Works No 3135    37 Invincible 0-4-0ST

Hawthorn Leslie 3135 Isle of Wight Nov 2010.jpg

This locomotive was built in 1915 by Hawthorn Leslie to work at Woolwich Arsenal. At Woolwich Arsenal  it worked alongside seventeen other standard gauge shunting locomotives of a similar design.

The railway system at Woolwich Arsenal was quite extensive and there were narrow gauge lines as well as standard gauge track. The standard gauge lines covered about 120 miles including some track that was designed to take narrow and standard gauge traffic with the outer rails being spaced for standard gauge. The railway was linked to the South Eastern Railway at Plumstead.

After a period in store Invincible was overhauled and fitted with a new boiler before being moved to the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough in 1955.

Here it was employed hauling coal and store wagons from the British Railways exchange sidings to the Establishment.

Following the closure of the Establishments railway system in 1968 the locomotive was purchased by Tom Jeffris of Southampton who placed it on loan to the Wight Locomotive Society in 1971.

It was fitted with Westinghouse air brake equipment in the winter of 1972/73 which enabled it to be used to haul passenger trains.

Between 1973 and 1977 Invincible was the only operating steam locomotive on the Isle of Wight Steam Railway.

Following the death of Mr Jeffris ownership of the locomotive passed to the Wight Locomotive Society in 1979

Although the locomotive is powerful it was designed for shunting duties which m,eans that it is not ideally suited to performing over longer distances to a tight timetable. As a result it tends to be used during the early and late season when the less intense timetable is more suited to its capabilities.

Following completion of a 10-year boiler overhaul Invincible was returned to steam in December 2001 in the maroon livery of the Woolwich Arsenal Railway.

During the latter part of the 2009 season the locomotive suffered a broken spring hanger and is currently out of service awaiting repair.

By April 2018 volunteers at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway had cleaned and repainted the boiler and cladding.

It was reported in the summer of 2020 that the locomotive was undergoing an overhaul.

HL3135-RAE-Farnborough - February 1965.jpg
3135 at the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough – February 1965
Hawthorn Leslie 3135 Isle of Wight Nov 2010.jpg
3135 at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway – November 2010
3135 in the Isle of Wight Steam Railway museum at Havenstreet – September 2021

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