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South Eastern & Chatham Railway C-class No.592

C-class shunting - Richard Salmon - 25 March 1994

Above: The 1902-built C-class 0-6-0, fresh from overhaul in 1994, shunting at Horsted Keynes (Richard Salmon)
Below: The C-class and all three of our operational LCDR carriages were built at Longhedge Works, Battersea, and for the relaunch of the third carriage, on 18 June 2016, this train was assembled for the occasion, seen here approaching Kingscote where a photo opportunity was staged (Alex Morley)

All-Longhedge-built train - C-class with LCDR carriages - Alex Morley - 18 June 2016
After the amalgamation of the SER and the LCDR in 1899 it fell to Harry Wainwright to put some order into the locomotive designs the new company inherited. The C-class was his standard goods design, and 109 of them were built from 1900 through to 1908. They served the SECR, and in turn the SR and BR, well, with 106 (plus one rebuilt as a saddle tank) still extant at nationalisation in 1948, and 60 of them still in service in 1960. The steam powered reverser on this locomotive was most successful, and this design was to be found on goods and shunting engines built by the SECR and the SR for more than 40 years afterwards.

At the Nationalisation of the railways on 1 January 1948, SR No.1592 could be found shedded at Ramsgate (Code RAM), where she remained in service with BR (being renumbered 31592 in December 1948) until transferred for a brief period to Nine Elms (70A) on 14 June 1959. On 9 February 1960, 31592 returned to the South Eastern Division and was shedded at Tonbridge (73J). The loco was transferred to Ashford (73F) on 9 November 1961 where she remained until withdrawl from revenue service in July 1963. However, that was not the end of her duty, as she was placed in departmental service in Ashford Works and was renumbered DS239.

C-class with Observation Car - Paul Pettitt - 10 Oct 2007
With the last three surviving in departmental service at Ashford, The Wainwright 'C' Preservation Society was formed in 1962, and in December 1966 was able to buy 592 (as DS239). Kept initially in the old running shed at Ashford, it moved to the Bluebell in 1970, and finally entered service in 1975 after work on its boiler and a badly damaged axle journal. Its 1994 overhaul at the hands of volunteers saw it returned to service with a spare tender which we overhauled. We had been fortunate enough to obtain this from Folkestone, where it had been used as a mobile water tank. In 2006-7 we overhauled the spare boiler which we have for this locomotive (which had been a stationary boiler at Ashford), since the firebox of the existing boiler was deemed beyond repair. Details of the overhaul are available here. It returned to service on 8th October 2007.

Paul Pettitt's photograph shows the freshly overhauled locomotive emerging from the tunnel with the Observation Car on an Autumn Tints special on 10th October 2007.

At that time it was thought likely to require a new cylinder block at a subsequent overhaul, but advances in cylinder lining techniques pioneered with the Atlantic, 178 and B473 at the Bluebell has led to similar work being undertaken on this locomotive, and so the cylinder block was removed and re-lined in late 2012, and with further work on the valves, has now enabled a much stronger locomotive to re-enter service. However, a new block has been cast for it which will be fitted at its next overhaul.

The locomotive was generously gifted to The Bluebell Railway Trust by the Wainwright 'C' Preservation Society on 20 September 2014. The donors stipulated that the locomotive is to remain normally on the Bluebell Railway, and should usually be painted in SECR Wainwright livery.

This locomotive featured as "The Green Dragon" in the Carlton TV film of The Railway Children.

C and O1 double heading
Class: C
Wheels: 0-6-0
Built: 1902, Longhedge Works, SECR
Numbers carried: 592, A592, 1592, 31592, DS 239
Length: 51' 7.5"
Weight: Engine: 43t 16c, Tender 38t 5c
Water capacity: 3,300 gallons
Coal capacity: 4.5 tons
Boiler Pressure: 160 psi
Driving Wheels: 5' 2"
Cylinders (2): 18.5" x 26"
Tractive Effort: 19,520 lb
Engine Brake: Vacuum
BR Power Class: 2F

Preserved: December 1966
Arrived on Bluebell: 16 August 1970
Last major overhaul completed: 7 October 2007
Last operational: 13 May 2017
Owner: The Bluebell Railway Trust

Peter Edwards' photo shows the O1 and C class locomotives double-heading a goods train during use on a Footplate Days and Ways experience course on 15 March 2000.

splash The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service
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