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London & South Western Railway
"T9" class No.120


120 and Stowe at Sheffield Park, 12 January 2008 - Paul Pettitt

120 with 'Stowe' for a night shoot at Sheffield Park, 12 January 2008 (Paul Pettitt)
Paul's other photos taken that evening


Class: T9
Wheels: 4-4-0
Built: 1899
Numbers carried: 120, E120, 120, 30120
Was on loan to the Bluebell from the National Railway Museum.
Left Bluebell: 1 Feb 2008 for Bodmin & Wenford Railway

120 at Swanage Left: 120 at Swanage (Photo: the late Tony Dunkley.)

The T9s were nicknamed Greyhounds on account of the turn of speed they could achieve. When first introduced they were used for the lightly loaded expresses from Plymouth to Waterloo at a time when there was fierce competition between the LSWR and the GWR for passengers arriving on the transatlantic liners. In later years No.119 was reserved exclusively for use on the Royal train, but it was No.120 which later achieved celebrity status when restored by British Railways to its LSWR livery it was used on enthusiasts trains in the early 1960s, including a visit to the Bluebell Railway before the link via Ardingly was severed in 1963.

On withdrawal from BR service in 1963, No.120 was reserved for the National Collection, and was placed on display at York for a time. It was returned to working order in 1983, and has run on the Mid Hants and Swanage Railways. Following the expiry of its boiler certificate in 1993 it was placed in the care of the Bluebell Railway, who could provide undercover accommodation, and access for the public, initially for a two year period, due to shortage of space at York. The loan period was subsequently extended for over a decade. A proposal to restore the locomotive to operation was discussed, but it was concluded that the Bluebell had too many urgent priorities of its own to be able to undertake what was likely to be a very major mechanical and boiler overhaul. With the agreement of the NRM, fund raising to pay for an initial investigation for an external contract overhaul was launched, but failed to raise enough money to even achieve that limited aim. The sum raised was subsequently passed to the NRM to help towards the loco's upkeep and overhaul costs.

120 at Sheffield Park, 12 January 2008 - Derek Hayward

120 at Sheffield Park, 12 January 2008 (Derek Hayward)

In 2007 the Bluebell made a decision to return the locomotive, based on the pressure on siding space during the period of the construction of the new carriage running shed and museum at Sheffield Park. A proposal to overhaul the engine for use at the Bodmin & Wenford Railway was accepted by the NRM and so the loco left the Bluebell on 1st February 2008, and following a complete overhaul, including major repairs to its cylinder block at the Flour Mill Workshops, returned working order at the BWR in 2010.

T9 No.120

Mike Esau


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