London Brighton & South Coast Railway
Class A1 Stroudley 'Terrier' 0-6-0T
No.672 "Fenchurch", built in 1872
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, as shown in James Young's photo above. 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.
Stroudley's famous Terriers (known in earlier years as Rooters) 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 was it appears was the first in service, on 7th September, but the following year the faulty cylinder castings caught up with 'Fenchurch', so it had to be given a new set.
'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.
'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. 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.
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.
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 became a kind of memorial to him.
Above: 'Fenchurch' at Goods Train Weekend 2008 (Derek Hayward, 30 March 2008, and Stephen Hunt, 29 March 2008).
That 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, and now awaits a further overhaul which hopefully can be achieved for 2022, its 150th anniversary.
Right: 'Fenchurch' is nicely matched in power to haul the Bluebell's set of Metropolitan carriages (Matt Allen - 30 December 2007).
Class: A1 / A1X
Class Introduced: 1872
Designer: William Stroudley
Total number built: 50 (10 still survive)
Built: November 1872, Brighton Works, as Class A1
Rebuilt: to class A1X, April 1913
Numbers carried: 72, B636, 2636, 32636
Arrived on Bluebell Railway: 1964
Last overhaul: 2001
Last Operational: 23 January 2011
Owner: Bluebell Railway
Length: 26ft 1/2 in
Weight: 28 Tons 5 cwt
Water capacity: 500 Gallons
Coal capacity: 18cwt (approx.)
Boiler Pressure: 150 lb/sq.in
Driving Wheels: 4ft diameter
Cylinders: (2, inside) 14 3/16" x 20"
Tractive Effort: 10,693 lbs
Engine Brake: Air
BR power classification: 0P
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© Copyright Richard Salmon, April 2014, and the individual photographers.
Last updated by Richard Salmon, 2 June 2017
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