Tickets on sale Vistor Info What's New Shop Search the site FAQ Links Details for the enthusiast How you can join in or help us Contacts Navigate
Bluebell Railway Preservation Society web site Bluebell Railway web site
Donate to the Jewel in the Crown appeal

Locomotives - Operational Locos - Locos under overhaul - Locos on static display - Locos formerly based on the Bluebell
Loco Roster - Loco Stock List - Loco Works News - Join the Loco Dept

The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service Email Newsletter


Southern Railway No. 34059
'Sir Archibald Sinclair'

Bulleid "Battle of Britain" Class Pacific - built in 1947, rebuilt 1960

34059 in 1966 - Nigel Kendall

34059 'Sir Archibald Sinclair' arrives at New Milton with a semi-fast
for Waterloo on 30th April 1966. The loco is wearing an Eastleigh duty number.

Photo © Nigel Kendall - See his Flickr site.

The Bulleid light 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. Initially intended as the "West Country" class, once a significant number of the locomotives were in regular use in the south-east of England, the idea was conceived that some (eventually 44 out of the 110) of the locomotives should be named after personalities, aircraft, RAF stations and squadrons associated with the Battle of Britain, which had been fought, for the most part, over the Southern Railway's territory. Hence the "Battle of Britain" class was born.

Sir Archibald Sinclair (1890-1970) was one of the personalities to have a locomotive named after him. He got to know Winston Churchill well before the First World War, and served for five months as Churchill's second in command in the 6th Royal Scots Fusiliers. After the war, he continued as an aide to Churchill, before entering parliament in 1922, and led the Liberal Party from 1935 to 1945. He was appointed Secretary of State for Air by Churchill in 1940, and was the all-important link between the RAF top brass and Churchill. He became Viscount Thurso, of Ulbster in Churchill's first honours list of the 1952 Conservative government.

Returning now to the locomotives; under their "air-smoothed" exterior they had many unconventional features, designed to reduce maintenance costs and overall weight. Some features proved troublesome and in 1957 a programme of rebuilding the locomotives along conventional lines was started. The rebuilding of the 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 Bulleid's superb free-steaming boiler, along with many other of the more successful design features. Not all of the light pacifics were rebuilt, not least because the rebuilt locomotives were unable to be used on some lines due to the increased weight, but 34059 was amongst those rebuilt, in 1960.

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 tender body has been made, and placed on it.

Sir Archibald Sinclair on 300 Club members train - 21 April 2009 - Andrew Strongitharm
34059 'Sir Archibald Sinclair' returned to service in April 2009, after restoration from Barry Scrapyard condition (Andrew Strongitharm)

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. Regrettably, the loco was withdrawn during October 2011, in need of further major firebox repairs; the construction of a new firebox has been contracted out, and with the boiler work completed in house, and the frames and tender overhauled, it returned to service in November 2023.

Although the locomotive is owned by the Bluebell Railway, the Battle of Britain Locomotive Group who brought it to the Bluebell from Barry, along with The Bulleid Society, are heavily involved in fundraising and assisting in the overhauls of this locomotive.

See also the Bulleid Society's web pages for Sir Archibald Sinclair which include a detailed biography of the man, in addition to considerable detail about the locomotive.

34059 'Sir Archibald Sinclair' near Hinton Admiral, July 1964 - Nigel Kendall
Class: Battle of Britain (Rebuilt)
Wheels: 4-6-2 (Pacific)
Class Introduced: 1957
Built: 1947, Brighton, Rebuilt: 1960, Eastleigh
Purpose: Mixed traffic
Total number built: 110 (60 rebuilt)
Numbers carried: SR: 21C159, BR: 34059
Withdrawn: 29 May 1966

Length: 67ft 4 3/4 in
Weight: Engine 90 Tons 1cwt, Tender 42 Tons approx.
Water capacity: 5,250 Gallons
Coal capacity: 5 Tons
Boiler Pressure: 250 lb/
Driving Wheels: 6ft 2in diameter
Cylinders: (3) 16 3/8" x 24"
Tractive Effort: 27,715 lbs
BR power classification: 7P 5FA, later 7P 6F

Arrived on Bluebell Railway: 28 October 1979
Owner: Bluebell Railway
Previously operational: April 2009 - October 2011
Last overhaul completed: November 2023 Current Status: Available for service
Further Web Pages: provided by the Bulleid Society

Photo right: 34059 'Sir Archibald Sinclair' has just passed through Hinton Admiral with a Weymouth to Waterloo express on a bright July day in 1964. (Nigel Kendall)

splash The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service
Return to BRPS Home Page, to the Timetable or to Special Events
Locos Intro - Operational Locos - Locos under overhaul - Locos on static display - Locos formerly based on the Bluebell
Loco Roster - Loco Stock List - Loco Works News - Join the Loco Dept

Visitor Info. - Museum - Trust - Catering - Contacts - What's New - Projects - Locos - Carriages & Wagons - Signals - History - Other - Links - Search - FAQ
Why not become a BRPS Member?     -     Get more involved as a Volunteer

Your ideal Film/TV location?

Valid HTML 4.0 Transitional! Last updated by Richard Salmon, 20 November 2023
© Copyright BRPS.             Privacy Policy