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London Brighton & South Coast Railway
Class A1 Stroudley Terrier 0-6-0T
No. 672 'Fenchurch', built in 1872

Fenchurch at East Grinstead - Neil Glaskin - 1 December 2022

'Fenchurch' at East Grinstead after a loaded test run on 1 December 2022 (Neil Glaskin)

LBSCR Terrier, 72 Fenchurch in Newhaven Harbour livery - Lewis Nodes The photo on the right by Lewis Nodes shows 'Fenchurch' as an "A1X" in its Bluebell version of the Newhaven Harbour livery. At its 2001 overhaul it was back-converted as far as feasible to its "A1" form.

Stroudley's famous Terriers * were a light-weight design, intended to give rapid acceleration on suburban trains of light-weight carriages on the South London line, where the stations were only about a mile appart. They were such an improvement over the previous locomotives used that the initial 6 built in 1872 were soon multiplied to a class of 50.

'Fenchurch' should not have been the first of the class to enter service, but problems with the cylinder castings resulted in delays in completing the first two locomotives, Nos. 70 and 71, and thus Nos.71 and 72 seem to have been handed over to the traffic department for testing simultaneously, probably on 28 August 1872, although Fenchurch had already had a trial steaming on 2nd July, and it appears was the first in service, on 7 September. The following year the faulty cylinder castings caught up with 'Fenchurch', so it had to be given a new set.
Fenchurch at Horsted Keynes - Andrew Strongitharm - January 2007

'Fenchurch' and a set of 8 close-coupled suburban carriages were, from October 1875, the test-bed for Harper's Hydraulic Brake, which proved much less successful than the competing Westinghouse Air brake, tending to snatch and break the carriage couplings. The Westinghouse system was thus accepted by Stroudley as the LBSCR's standard, and the Harper's sysytem was removed from 'Fenchurch' after 18-months.

By August 1879 the little loco had run an incredible 279,794 miles (an amazing figure for a locomotive which just shuttled back and forth on the 11-miles of the South London Line), and the cylinders were again proving troublesome, so were replaced by a new design of 13-inch diameter cylinder, which had been proved to be rather better when fitted the later members of the class. In the late 1880s it received a new copper firebox in place of the iron original, with four fewer, slightly shorter, tubes in the boiler.

Terrier at Newhaven breakwater
'Fenchurch', having accumulated 599,296 miles was sold in 1898 to the Newhaven Harbour Company. It was an ideal loco in view of its light weight, able to traverse the swing bridge between East and West Quays. It retained Stroudley livery for some years, and its name until 1917, thereafter carrying 'Newhaven Harbour Company' lettering on its side tanks, but still known to everyone as 'Fenchurch'. With that company passing into Southern Railway hands in 1926, 'Fenchurch' returned to the fold, and was re-numbered B636, rather than the more logical B672. In 1929 it received the central section number 2636, and continued for many years to work at Newhaven.

In British Railways days it became No. 32636 and for a number of years was a celebrity as the oldest locomotive working on British Railways. In 1952 it found use on passenger and special services, in the Brighton/Eastbourne areas, but still remained primarily at Newhaven until October 1955 when it moved to St. Leonards to cover duties on the Kent & East Sussex Railway, which by then had lost its regular passenger services. Finally in 1959 it moved to Fratton to join the other remaining Terriers for services on the Hayling Island branch.

Right: a pre-WW1 view of a Terrier (almost certainly 'Fenchurch') at Newhaven Breakwater Arm with an engineering train. Click on the image for an enlargement.

The Bluebell had long sought a second Terrier, following the arrival of 'Stepney' in 1960, and 'Fenchurch' came to the line in the Spring of 1964.

32636 near Newhaven - Ben Brooksbank - 7 October 1962 32636 on Hayling Island Day - Brian Stephenson - 6 November 1988
Fenchurch with three of the Met coaches - Paul Pettitt Above left: Back in old haunts, BR 32636 near Newhaven, with E6-class 0-6-2T No. 32418, running round the train, prior to returning to Brighton on an RCTS tour on 7 October 1962. The E6 was in fine form that day, and would itself have been a worthy preservation objective. (Photo by Ben Brooksbank used under Creative Commons SA/2.0 Licence.)

Above right: In BR livery as 32636, on the Bluebell's 1988 Hayling Island Day (Brian Stephenson - 6 November 1988).

Right: 'Fenchurch' with three of the Metropolitan coaches (Paul Pettitt).

On the Bluebell it worked most years from 1964 until 1970, and was then overhauled for its centenary in 1972. In 1975 its inner firebox was condemned, and after replacement with a steel box made by Luggs of Billingshurst, it returned to work in 1980. In 1988 a crack was found in one wheel hub, so it was taken out of use for a new set of wheels to be made.

At that time the Bluebell Railway's traffic requirements were such that its repair had a fairly low priority. A fund was started to raise money for the new wheels, the cost of which was not at all certain.

For reasons which are not entirely clear, whilst a good number of footplate-men, like John Ley, thought highly of it, 'Fenchurch' was somewhat less popular with other footplate crews. Amongst those of us who appreciated its special qualities was a young but highly skilled fireman, Matthew Wood. In 1991 Matthew died of an asthma attack, and the Fenchurch Fund (initially set up to raise funds for the new wheels) became a kind of memorial to him.

Fenchurch at Goods Train Weekend 2008 - Derek Hayward - 30 March 2008 Fenchurch at Goods Train Weekend 2008 - Stephen Hunt - 29 March 2008

Above: 'Fenchurch' at Goods Train Weekend 2008 (Derek Hayward, 30 March 2008, and Stephen Hunt, 29 March 2008).

The subsequent overhaul (more details here) thus saw a pair of new wheels cast, and as part of the work the locomotive was cosmetically converted back to represent its original A1 rather than A1X form so far as was feasible. Returning to service in February 2001, it then gave ten years of pretty reliable service, painted in Marsh Umber and numbered 672, a livery and identity appropriate to the condition, but one never carried by it since by then it was in Newhaven Harbour ownership.

In early December 2019 'Fenchurch' entered the Locomotive works, was dismantled to remove the boiler for assessment, and the remainder of the locomotive reassembled for a return to public display in the locomotive shed. The aim is to have it running for its 150th anniversary in 2022, and a new inner firebox is being constructed by Israel Newton in Leeds, the remaining boilerwork being done at Sheffield Park, and the chassis overhauled (with the cylinders cast for it some years earlier being fitted) at Statfold Engineering Ltd. Details of this overhaul are available here.

Fenchurch in A1 form at Horsted Keynes - James Young Right: 'Fenchurch' in A1 form and umber livery (which was never actually carried by it in LBCSCR service) on an Autumn Tints service (James Young).
Its pairing with the LNWR Observation Car is as close as it's currently feasible to get to a recreation of an LBSCR Baloon auto-trailer service.

Class: A1 / A1X
Wheels: 0-6-0T
Class Introduced: 1872
Designer: William Stroudley
Total number built: 50 (10 still survive)
Built: 1872, Brighton Works, as Class A1
Rebuilt: to class A1X, April 1913
Name: 'Fenchurch'
Numbers carried: 72, B636, 2636, 32636
Arrived on Bluebell Railway: 1964
Previous operational period: February 2001 to 23 January 2011
Last overhaul completed: 10 January 2023
Owner: Bluebell Railway

Below: 'Fenchurch' as built. Note the wooden brake blocks, the three-link coupling, the condensing-balance pipe between the tanks over the top of the firebox, and the lack of Westinghouse brakes.
Fenchurch when virtually new Length: 26ft 1/2 in
Weight: 28 Tons 5 cwt
Water capacity: 500 Gallons
Coal capacity: 18cwt (approx.)
Boiler Pressure: 150 lb/
Driving Wheels: 4ft diameter
Cylinders: (2, inside) 13 13/32" x 20" **
Tractive Effort: 9,540 lbs **
Engine Brake: Air
BR power classification: 0P
The Terrier nickname dates from their very earliest days, and was mentioned in an article about the locomotives in The Engineer of 17 January 1873 which states "and now William Stroudley has come forward with a still lighter class of engines, so small, so wiry, and so lively, that they have already been christened 'The Terriers'."
They were also known in later years as Rooters.

Fenchurch with Metropolitan carriages - Matt Allen - 30 December 2007 ** As built, the original cylinders were 13" diameter, and coupled with 140psi boilers, the A1s had a nominal tractive effort of 8,380 lbs.
On rebuilding to A1X, most Terriers (particularly those intended for motor working) had either new 12" cylinders, or the originals sleeved down to 12" diameter. With 150psi boilers, the A1Xs had a nominal tractive effort of 7,650 lbs.
Intended for low speed shunting at Newhaven, 'Fenchurch' received cylinders bored out to 14 3/16" diameter in 1904, the largest used in any of the Terriers, and resulted in a higher tractive effort of 10,693 lbs.
Over the following century, with wear and re-boring, its cylinder diameter grew to around 14 11/16", which left a wall thickness down to 1/8" in places, resulting in the need for a new cylinder block. This was fitted in 2022, and the bore is currently around 13.400 inches in diameter, resulting in the 9,540 lbs quoted here.

Right: 'Fenchurch' is nicely matched in power to haul the Bluebell's set of Metropolitan carriages (Matt Allen - 30 December 2007).

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We also have another Terrier on the Bluebell: No. 55 'Stepney'.

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