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The Bluebell Railway's Locomotives


  1. Operational Locos
  2. Locos under overhaul
  3. Locos on static display
  4. Bluebell Locos on loan elsewhere
  5. Locos formerly based on the Bluebell

Locos Currently Receiving Overhaul
or Under Restoration

SR Schools, Stowe 34059 Sir Archibald Sinclair SECR No.27 SR Q-Class No.541 Camelot Atlantic Project BR 2MT 78059/84030

News of some of these overhauls is
available via the Loco Works News pages


Stowe at Horsted Keynes - Mike Esau SR Schools-class, "Stowe"
Class: V, "Schools"
Wheels: 4-4-0
Built: 1934
Numbers carried: 928, 30928
Last major overhaul: 1980/1
Current status: Overhaul in progress; Tender has received overhaul.
Owner: Maunsell Locomotive Society
Web Page
The final development of the classic express 4-4-0, the Schools class were designed originally for the Hastings line with its restricted loading gauge, but proved themselves capable of hauling the Southern's top expresses along side larger engines on the railway's other main lines, and "Stowe" was built for the London-Portsmouth run. Bought from British Rail by Lord Montague, it was for a time displayed at his motor museum at Beaulieu, before moving to the East Somerset Railway in 1973 and the Bluebell in 1980 where it was rapidly restored to working order. Following expiry of its boiler certificate, it was been stored awaiting its turn in the workshop, in need of some very major (i.e. expensive) boiler repairs.

In September 2000 it was bought by the Maunsell Locomotive Society, so securing its future on the Bluebell. The team that rebuilt the tender for No.1638 then completed the major rebuild of Stowe's tender, and the locomotive was repainted into Southern Railway Bulleid-period Malachite Green livery to ring the changes for the subsequent period when it was on display in the loco shed. In 2013 a start on the overhaul of the locomotive was made, with fund-raising also very much to the fore, since this will not be a cheap overhaul. The physical work on the overhaul became very visible in December 2013; until this point the locomotive had been kept in a displayable condition. You can contribute towards the boiler overhaul of this and other locomotives via our "Keep Up The Pressure" appeal.


Sir Archibald Sinclair on 300 Club members train - 21 April 2009 - Andrew Strongitharm Rebuilt SR Bulleid Light Pacific, "Sir Archibald Sinclair"
Class: Battle of Britain (Rebuilt)
Wheels: 4-6-2
Built: 1947, Rebuilt: 1960
Numbers carried: 21C159, 34059
Withdrawn by BR: 1966
Last overhaul completed: April 2009
Last operational: October 2011
Current status: Frames on static display, boiler at Crewe for overhaul
Owner: Bluebell Railway

Web Page
The Bulleid Society's comprehensive web pages

Bulleid Pacific Sir
Archibald Sinclair in 1966 The identical "West Country" and "Battle of Britain" pacifics were built to provide increased power for use on the Southern's secondary main lines, especially those in the West country with weight restrictions. However, some of Bulleid's novel ideas, designed to reduce maintenance costs, proved troublesome. Therefore in 1957 a programme of rebuilding the locomotives along conventional lines was started. The rebuilding of the Bulleid light pacifics added several tons to their weight, but produced, to all intents, brand-new locomotives, whilst retaining the distinctive light-weight Bulleid-Firth-Brown wheels and his superb free-steaming boiler, along with many other of the successful innovative design features.

Rescued from Barry scrapyard in 1979 without a tender, this locomotive has since then been the subject of ongoing restoration work and fundraising. A tender underframe was salvaged from a steel-works, the original intention being to use this in conjunction with a new body. However this underframe was in poor condition, and in the end only some fittings from it were used, with the tender frames being constructed at Sheffield Park from new material. A new 5250-gallon tender body has been made, and placed on it.

The formal launch into Bluebell service, as the first rebuilt Battle of Britain to steam in preservation, performed by Viscount Thurso (grandson of Sir Archibald Sinclair, who was the wartime Secretary of State for Air from 1940) on 24th April 2009. Regretably, the loco was withdrawn during October 2011, in need of further major firebox repairs; the boiler work is being contracted out, and once completed a new 10-year certification period will commence. More details here.


27 in 1970 - Keith Salmon SECR Wainwright P-tank, No.27
Class: P
Wheels: 0-6-0T
Built: 1910
Numbers carried: 27, ROD 5027, A27, 1027, 31027
Last operational: November 1974
Current status: overhaul in progress - Latest News

Owner: Bluebell Railway
Web Page

The P-class tank locomotives were, in design terms, an updated copy of the LBSCR Terriers. Coming to the Bluebell in 1961, for two years it carried the name "Primrose". In 1963 it was repainted into full SECR passenger livery, and, with No.323, was a mainstay of the Bluebell's operational fleet for much of that decade.

No.27 was dismantled in 1978 for a "quick" overhaul, but, as was so often the case at the time, this was found to be beyond the skills of the basic workshop capability we had back then, so the restoration stalled.

The restoration of 27 to working condition re-started in 2011 following a delay of over 30 years. The work on the locomotive is being undertaken by the Villas Gang and other volunteers, supported by the fund raising efforts of the 'Fenchurch Fund'. Major work is required on the boiler and frames of the locomotive, as well as some significant mechanical renewal and replacement of plate work, including the tanks.


The Q photographed by Mike Esau SR Maunsell Q-class No.541
Class: Q
Wheels: 0-6-0
Built: 1939
Numbers carried: 541, 30541
Last major overhaul: 1983
Last operational: 1993
Current status: overhaul in progress - Latest News
Owner: The Maunsell Locomotive Society

Web Page

Built as a basic goods engine to replace life-expired pre-grouping locomotives, this was Maunsell's final design as Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Southern Railway. It could be described as a competent though not outstanding engine. Bulleid, Maunsell's successor, improved the draughting arrangements with a multiple blast-pipe arrangement and new chimney, and it was in this condition that 541 was withdrawn from service in 1964. Sent to Barry scrapyard, like many other locos there it escaped the cutter's torch and was bought by preservationists.

In 1973 it was moved to Ashchurch in Gloucestershire and moved on in 1978 to the Bluebell, where its owning group merged with those of U-class No.1618 and S15 No.847 to form the Maunsell Locomotive Society. The blast pipe and chimney arrangement have been further modified using BR Class 4 components, in the same way as BR had done to some of the class. This has the advantage of returning the locomotive visually to very close to its original form. Major restoration work saw it return to steam in 1983, operating for the following decade.

This loco is the subject of a rapid overhaul, and the Loco Works Working Group, who started by overhauling the tender, are now also assisting with work on the loco itself. It is intended to do just the minimum work required to enable the loco to run for about 5 years.


Camelot at Kingscote - Hiroshi Naito BR Standard, No.73082 "Camelot"
Class: 5MT
Wheels: 4-6-0
Built: 1955
Last major overhaul: 1995
Last operational: June 2005
Current status: overhaul in progress, boiler under overhaul at Crewe - Latest News

Owner: 73082 Camelot Locomotive Society
Photo by courtesy of Hiroshi Naito

"Camelot" was one of the Southern Region's allocation of Standard 5s, and when the King Arthur class, which they replaced, were being withdrawn, a staff suggestion led to the names being transferred to the new engines. Modern engines with roller bearings, highly capable and easy to maintain, they were withdrawn long before they were worn out thanks to BR's rush to get rid of steam in the 1960s.

A survivor of Barry Scrapyard, "Camelot" is the only remaining one of these named Standard 5s. It was returned to working order thanks to the dedication of the Camelot Society, which carried out fund-raising and engineering work. The latter included the construction of a brand-new tender body, fitted to frames recovered from a South Wales Ironworks, since, like so many Barry locos, it had lost its tender. It was a core member of the Bluebell's loco fleet for the decade after it returned to traffic in 1995.

The Camelot Locomotive Society prepared the loco for a boiler lift, and the overhaul is now well under way, with the boiler sent away for contract overhaul.


Atlantic Beachy Head at Horsted Keynes, February 1957 LBSCR Class H2
Wheels: 4-4-2
Numbers carried: 424, B424, 2424, 32424
Name from June 1926: Beachy Head
Originally built: Sept 1911
Withdrawn: April 1958

Project web pages
Current status: construction in progress - latest news

This is our project to reconstruct a Brighton H2 Atlantic based on SR/BR period "Beachy Head". It is based around a suitable boiler which was obtained some years ago, and the project is now moving ahead rapidly, with a building constructed to accommodate the components, the frames cut, wheels cast, cylinders and valves fabricated and fitted, and the tender chassis also nearly complete. Various other original H2 components have been given to the project, including the locomotive's original regulator handle, and a class identification plate.

The photo shows Brighton Atlantic No.32424 "Beachy Head" at Horsted Keynes with the Locomotive Club of Great Britain "Southern Counties Limited", 24th February 1957.


84030 frames welded up - Tony Sullivan - 20 Dec 2011 BR Standard Class 2
Wheels: 2-6-2T (built as 2-6-0)
Originally built: 1956
Number: 84030 (was 78059 in BR service)
Owner: Bluebell Railway
Web Page
Current status: overhaul and conversion in progress - latest news

The photo by Tony Sullivan shows the loco's frames welded to the new rear section in the Bluebell's workshops in December 2011, and thus 84030 can now be said to exist.

The 2MT locomotives were built for light branch-line work. The tender engines, as this loco was originally, were almost unknown even as visitors to the South, whereas the 2MT tanks were used extensively on the Southern Region. Thus, when this loco was rescued from Barry scrapyard without a suitable tender being available, the decision was taken to restore the locomotive in the tank-engine form, of which there are no surviving examples. The last 2MT tank having been numbered 84029, this locomotive takes the next number in the sequence.

The loco will be very useful on the Bluebell, since it will be capable of hauling all but our very heaviest trains. The project is making good progress, and news reports are available here.


  1. Operational Locos
  2. Locos under overhaul
  3. Locos on static display
  4. Bluebell Locos on loan elsewhere
  5. Locos formerly based on the Bluebell
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