WD in line trials at Bodmin 41 years after last steaming


Saturday, October 14 was a landmark occasion for the Cornish Steam Locomotive Preservation Society (CSLPS) when Bagnall Austerity 0-6-0ST No. 75178, resplendent in its War Department livery, went for its first trial run after a very lengthy restoration on the Bodmin & Wenford Railway.

Four decades after it had previously steamed, a fire was lit in its boiler on May 21, and the following day it moved up and down the Bodmin General yard under its own power for the first time since 1976.

Bagnall WD Austerity 0-6-0ST No. 75178 outside Bodmin General shed. JIMMY JAMES

Three miles were accomplished light engine in the yard and down the Boscarne branch towards Crabtree Lane.

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However, the lubricator was found not to be working properly, and will need to be stripped down and reassembled before the running-in trials can resume.

No. 75178 was built at Stafford in 1944 for the War Department. It was dispatched to Calais on February 2, 1945 as WD No. 75178, but was too late to contribute in General Montgomery’s push towards the Rhine. After two years in storage it was returned to Britain and sold to the National Coal Board.

It then spent its working life in South Wales collieries, and survived a spectacular accident at Maesteg in 1971.

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Five years later, it was preserved at the then Dart Valley Railway at Buckfastleigh, but never entered service there.

In May 1995 it was bought by the CSLPS and moved to Bodmin.

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