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Southern Railway U-class Locomotive 1638

The U with MLS members special - Jon Bowers
The U hauling the Maunsell Loco Society special train on 18 February 2006 (Jon Bowers). The loco is seen climbing Freshfield Bank in the rain. The top headcode disk carries a dedication to the late George Nickson, who was responsible for saving the loco from Barry Scrapyard and subsequently donated it to the Bluebell.

1638 is one of two U-class locomotives on the Bluebell Railway, both coming via Barry Scrapyard. It has been placed on long-term loan to the Maunsell Locomotive Society, which also owns 1618, and was their main restoration project for over a decade. Having lost its tender whilst at Barry, a new one has been built - starting from the remains of a snowplough which in turn had been created using a Schools class locomotive tender as its base. The loco steamed for the first time in preservation in February 2006 .

19 Feb 2006 - David Harp 18 Feb 2006 - Andrew Strongitharm

U No.31638 at Guildford David Harp's photo above shows the U on the 19th February 2006, at the head of the lunch-time Golden Arrow Pullman train. The second photo above (from Andrew Strongitharm) shows the loco at Sheffield Park the previous day.

The photo on the right (courtesy of the Maunsell Locomotive Society) shows No.1638 at Guildford in BR days (as No.31638).

No.1638 has been a popular and reliable performer since entering Bluebell service in 2006. However towards the end of 2008 it was noticed that water was leaking from some boiler stays and the loco entered the works for attention in November. The boiler was lifted up clear of the frames and 148 stays - mostly below footplate level, and all of them ones that had not been replaced during the course of restoration - were replaced. The engine returned to traffic in February 2009.


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Last updated 6 April 2009 by Jon Elphick.
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