Manning Wardle    Works No 2047 Warwickshire 0-6-0ST

Manning Wardle 2047 Severn Valley Railway Oct 2009.jpg

This locomotive was the last locomotive built by Manning and Wardle & Co and was completed in 1926. It was assembled using standard parts from various classes of locomotives but is visually similar to the standard Manning Wardle Q class. The boiler was constructed using an antiquated lap joint design rather than butt joints which had become the norm for railway locomotive boilers by that time.

The locomotive was delivered new to Rugby Portland Cement Co Ltd (RPC) at their New Bilton Works near Rugby in August 1926. It remained there throughout its working life apart from a brief move to RPC’s nearby Southam Cement Works during 1943.

In 1954 2047 received a new inner firebox and other major firebox repairs. The locomotive was finally withdrawn from use in December 1966.

Following withdrawal, RPC offered the locomotive to the Warwickshire Railway Society. A separate group, the Warwickshire Industrial Loco Preservation Group (WILPG) was formed and the necessary funds raised by a share issue (£150 for the locomotive and £150 for transport and spares). After an inspection was carried out in July 1967, 2047 was purchased and arrived on the Severn Valley Railway (SVR) in October 1967.

The locomotive was first steamed in December 1968 and initially finished in an unlined pale blue livery. It was used on works trains and for giving footplate rides in the station yard at Bridgnorth during Steam Gala days. The locomotive was also used as a regular Station Pilot and on occasional filming duties until it was taken out of traffic at the end of 1975 for the boiler to be re-tubed. It was officially named Warwickshire in April 1971 by Mr H A Vigar, the former manager of RPC’s New Bilton Works.

It returned to service in 1977 and was assigned to the Permanent Way Department of the SVR. It was heavily used until it was finally withdrawn from service at the end of 1977 with a defective fuse plug.

Although this would normally be expected to be a simple fix, a series of delays followed, mainly due to the lack of available boilersmith resources and the relative low priority of a locomotive not used on passenger services. By 1983 only a brief examination had been carried out which determined that the failed plug was not a BR standard size. A more detailed inspection in 1984 determined that the inner firebox fitted in 1954 had become very thin and would require considerable work; also the smokebox, smokebox door and ashpan would need to be replaced and the boiler re-tubed again.

By 1988 the work had still not been carried out, and work on other boilers was being delayed while the new Bridgnorth boiler shop was built. The WILPG therefore sent the boiler from 2047 Warwickshire to Pridhams for overhaul. By August 1989, a report had been received confirming that the thickness of the boiler plate was below the acceptable level for further use and that repairs would not be economical. In addition, the use of the lap joints would potentially make the boiler uninsurable even if it was repaired.

In June 1992 it was agreed to return the boiler so that 2047 could be cosmetically restored and placed on static display at Kidderminster Railway Museum. In November 1993, the WILPG formed the Warwickshire Industrial Locomotive Trust to raise funds for building a new boiler. The cosmetic overhaul was completed in June 1995, included repainting into the original RPC green livery. After a period on display at Hampton Loade, 2047 was put on display outside Kidderminster Railway Museum in February 1997.

The long awaited overhaul of 2047 began in with a move to Bridgnorth in November 2010. In 2013 quotations between £61,390 and £101,433 were obtained for the new boiler with an estimate of overhaul cost from the SVR of £184,306. As of 2018 the overhaul was in progress at the Bridgnorth, although a number of components have been moved to Bewdley for work to be done there.

By March 2018 two new cylinders castings had been machined by Timpsons Engineering of Kettering.

In July the boiler, smokebox and saddle tank were moved from Bridgnorth to Bewdley. The frames will follow once they have been re-wheeled.

Manning Wardle 2047 Severn Valley Railway Oct 2009.jpg 2047 at theSevern Valley Railway – October 2009

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