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Bluebell Railway Atlantic Group


Click here for latest progress

Facebook Fan Group See the unofficial 32424 'Beachy Head' Facebook Fan Group

Back in October 2000 the Bluebell Railway announced its intention to reconstruct a Brighton H2 Atlantic based on SR/BR period 'Beachy Head', the loco that was cut up at Eastleigh just before the Bluebell was formed. This project was no pipe dream. The Bluebell already had a boiler and tender frame and wheels, plus many of the smaller parts. However there remains much to do so if you want to help with skills, services or just money please e-mail David Jones.

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

Significant progress to date:

  • GN Atlantic boiler obtained (12 September 1987)
  • LBSCR B4 tender chassis obtained (1995)
  • LBSCR C2X tender wheelsets and axleboxes obtained (1999)
  • Wheels for trailing wheelset obtained
  • Tender chassis overhauled and lengthened (2001-5)
  • Bogie platework arrives (Dec. 2004)
  • Atlantic House constructed - the project has a home (2005-6)
  • Driving wheels and bogie wheels cast (2005)
  • Main frames cut, joggled, and delivered (2005)
  • Original regulator handle from 'Beachy Head' donated to the project (2006)
  • Tender chassis re-wheeled (2006)
  • Westinghouse pump obtained
  • Main frames erected - 32424 can be said to exist again! (October 2007)
  • Cylinder and valve chest components delivered (July 2008)
  • First motion parts water-jet cut from forged blanks (April 2009)
  • Bogie frames assembled (2009)
  • Valve chest assembly welded together, main axleboxes delivered (Spring 2010)
  • Bogie and trailing wheelsets completed, cylinders fabricated (Autumn 2010)
  • Coupling and connecting rods machined and delivered, rear cylinder covers cast (early 2011)
  • Axleboxes completed, with manganese steel liners and oil trays; smokebox saddle fabricated (mid 2011)
  • Cab reverser completed, valve heads cast (late 2011)
  • Valve and cylinder liners fitted (early 2012)
  • Frames now supported on bogie and trailing truck (mid 2012)
  • Valve chest and cylinders fitted to frames, covers fitted, and pressure tested (2012)
  • Main wheelsets completed and delivered (March 2013)
  • Lifting frames constructed and commissioned (May 2013)
  • Much of the valve gear assembled. Slide bars aligned (August 2013)
  • Last major valve gear components delivered (December 2013)
  • Weigh (reversing) shaft and air-clutch fitted (January 2014)
  • Axleboxes metalled, machined and fitted (February 2014)
  • Wheel rotators constructed (February 2014)
  • Eccentric rods fitted (March 2014)
  • Most work between the frames (valve and reversing gear, pipework for brakes and steam heat) completed. Locomotive wheeled (May 2014)
  • Cylinders clad, crossheads fitted, superheater-header casting patterns completed (August 2014)
  • Bogie and inside motion completed, giving us a rolling chassis (May 2015)
  • Running plates, with splashers and steps, completed (June 2015)
  • Cylinder covers fitted, cab floor, sides and front assembled (October 2015)
  • Connecting and coupling rods fitted, valves set (February 2016)
  • Superheater header delivered (March 2016)
  • Revision of boiler internal pipework completed, boiler-work started, boiler tubes delivered (October 2016)
  • Cab roof riveted together and fitted (November & December 2016)
  • Mud-hole patches welded into boiler. Flue tubes (with screw ends welded on) delivered (December 2016)
  • Smokebox door and surround completed, blast pipe installed (March 2017)
  • Double Ramsbottom safety valves complete. Reverser air valve, air assisted reverser and clutch piped up and tested (Summer 2017)
  • 'J' pipe and main steam pipe installed in boiler and pressure tested (August 2017)
  • Westinghouse pump and front footplating in place (March 2018)
  • Boiler tubes installed and expanded, boiler repairs completed (May 2018)
  • Work on tender recommenced (August 2018)
  • Boiler moved outside and cloathing sheets progressed (Autumn 2018)
  • Smokebox fitted and more boiler clothing made (Spring 2019)
  • Tender pipework completed and timber to support tank fitted (February 2019)
  • Cab floor and ashpan made, cab lined out (May-June 2019)
  • Tender tank constructed by D G Welding and delivered (July 2019)
  • Out-of-frames boiler hydraulic test passed (October 2019)
  • Tender body fitted and clad, superheater fitted (2020)
  • Tender doors fitted, cab and tender fittings largely in place (2021)
  • Fabricated bogie centre stretcher replaced by cast steel item, as original (2021)
  • Boiler cladding (cloathing) completed and fitted (2022)
  • Modified (as per updated SR drawing) trailing truck hornguides fitted (2022)
  • Boiler and ashpan lifted into the locomotive's frames (16 August 2022)
  • Tender completed, painted, lined and transfers applied (2022)
  • Main steam pipes made and fitted in smokebox, blower ring fitted (2023)
  • Cab fit-out, boiler fixed to frames, various auxiliary steam pipe runs fabricated and fitted (2023)
  • Steam sanding gear, tender and ashpan watering pipes, and firebars fitted (2023)
  • Atlantic and tender removed from Atlantic House, and united on Bluebell metals (5-6 March 2024)
Much more detail of the many smaller steps along the way are detailed in the main project news reports.

Project Funding

A fund raising appeal for the money required to complete the project was launched in 2000, and a combination of gifts made via the Bluebell Railway Trust, and standing orders set up to provide a steady income to the project have provided funding for the present work. However, more is still needed to complete the project, and the best way in which you can help is by setting up a small, regular, standing order to the Bluebell Railway Trust under Gift Aid, since this enables the Trust to reclaim the basic rate tax you have paid, and (if you are a higher rate tax-payer) enables you to reclaim some tax as well.

The appeal leaflet, enabling GiftAid donations and standing orders to be set up is now available as a pdf document for you to download. For further details contact David Jones.

A donation is made to this project when you buy publications from Buggleskelly Books.


Latest progress - Background and early progress

Class: LBSCR H2 Atlantic
Wheels: 4-4-2
Class introduced: July 1911
Designed: at Brighton by D.E.Marsh, based upon GNR Ivatt drawings, but with larger cylinders and other minor differences
Purpose: To haul trains the 52 miles from London to Brighton in 1 hour.
Total number built: 6
Number and name: 32424 'Beachy Head'
Original built: September 1911, Brighton Works
Numbers carried: LB&SCR 242, SR B424 (received its name after re-numbering), 2424, BR 32424
Original withdrawn: April 1958
Reconstruction of locomotive: ongoing

Shed Allocation, January 1923: Eastbourne
Shed Allocation, November 1950: Newhaven
Final Shed in 1958: Brighton

Length: 59ft 9in
Weight: Engine 68 Tons 5cwt, Tender 39 Tons 5cwt
Water capacity: 3,500 Gallons
Coal capacity: 4 Tons
Boiler Pressure 170 lb/ as built, and as reconstructed
Driving Wheels: 6ft 7.5in diameter
Cylinders: (2, outside) 21" x 26"
Tractive Effort: 20,841 lbs
BR power classification: 4P

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