Profile of O1 Class No.65

A site devoted to all things Wainwright, with the main focus being the O1 engine and its restoration.


If you wish, click to go direct to:

Technical Specification

65 in service with the Southern Railway and British Railways

1999 Restoration

65 Picture Gallery - Photos from its decade of Bluebell service 1999-2009

O1 and the SECR centennial event

65 in preservation

65 at Ashford steam centre Mar 197065 is one of those rarities. She is not a Barry engine, but was withdrawn from service by BR, as 31065 36 years ago on the 24th June 1961. She had been condemned but not scrapped and was in store at Ashford early in 1963, awaiting her fate. Rescue came in the form of Mr Esmond Lewis-Evans, who arranged to secure the engine directly from BR. It would seem that the connecting rods had already been cut, as a precursor to scrapping, but on purchase this was remedied.

65 at Sheffield Park front end

Scrap value was paid for the engine, and although the exact figure is not available to me, the H class tank was bought 6 months later for about £850 so you can reckon on a very similar figure. The idea was that 65 should run at the Ashford steam centre that was proposed, and indeed did so, (this were the picture of 65 pulling Pullman carPhyllis was taken, at the top of the page) but when the centre was closed, her fate became most uncertain. Other engines such as C Class 592 dispersed to sites such as the Bluebell Railway but the O1, needing a general overhaul ended up on a private site in Kent. The engine was split into rolling frames, boiler, and tender, and items such as cab fittings etc. removed for restoration. Some limited progress was made, such as the removal of the boiler tubes, but for the large part, no serious attempt at restoration has been made for 20 years or so.

outside framed and outside sprung!

tender top view (18K)

The tender shows how much of a throw back to Victorian times this engine is, outside framed and exposed springs!

On a visit to the Bluebell during September of 1996, Mr Lewis-Evans had the chance to view the Sheffield park locomotive works, and became receptive to a proposal made to bring the engine there. Being 69 years old, Mr Lewis-Evans was mindful of advancing time and the limited nature of his resources. Agreement was made to bring the engine together again at Sheffield park, with a view to immediate restoration. A good deal all round, and one that saves an engine for all to enjoy, the last survivor of the South Eastern Railway.

inside Stephenson valve gear eccentrics inside valve gear

The idea was to have the engine running for the 100th anniversary of the amalgamation of the SER and LCD into the SECR in 1999. The engine is complete, and there was, on initial inspection, no serious problem regarding engine condition, which was remarkable considering the amount of time she had been stood. Restoration progress was posted to this site.


Technical Specification

General arrangement (email us for the full size version)

front end (22K)

Date Built - September 1896 (Ashford) Weight without Tender - 41tons 1cwt
Date Rebuilt as an O1- September 1908 Weight of Tender - 25 tons 9cwt
Boiler Pressure - 150lbs per sq. inch Coal Capacity- 2¾tons
Water Capacity - 2000 gallons Driving Wheel Diameter- 5ft 2 inches
No. of cylinders - two inside Cyl diameter & stroke - 18 by 26 ins
Tractive Effort - 17300lbs (at 85% pressure) Valve gear- Stephenson

Return to 65 profile start


65 in SER, SECR, Southern Railway and British Railway service

65 was something of a dinosaur even for British railways. the secret to her amazing lifespan lays in her weight. Stirling, and later Wainwright had kept the axle weight very low indeed. this was essential as the parsimonious SER and later SECR, had permanent way that was lightweight to say the least. the end result was that O1's could go places that many others could not. The 3 axles from from to back took 13 ton 18 cwt, 14 tons 10 cwt, and 12 tons 13 cwt respectively. this is amazingly low, and so very useful to a company like the SECR and indeed the Southern later on.

OclassThe original O class can be seen here. they sport Stirlings favoured domeless boilers and rounded cabs. compare that to the rebuilt O1 version. Wainwright was in search of standardisation and rebuilt the O by fitting the H class type boiler. This has a substantial dome of course, and the boilers positioning necessitated the lowering of the front sandbox from on top to underneath the running plate. The cab was standardised too, hence the great similarity with the appearance of the C class. Bradley reports that the change of cab was viewed as a step back by crews who though Stirlings rounded affair offered superior protection from the elements.

O1The O1 was a goods engine, and was to be seen in the south east on various turns, 65 being allocated to Ashford shed itself after the first war.

All 59 O1s made it to Southern stock. In the inter war years, 1065 could be seen banking at Folkestone Harbour. As 31065 the O1 was back at Ashford. Withdrawals were common throughout the fifties and by 1958, 31065 was one of eight. A moment of glory came when, double headed with C class 592, she worked the final service on the Hawkhurst branch. 13 days later, she herself was condemned, after a very reasonable 66 years and 1,388,000 miles of service.


Return to profile start

home