Bulleid Battle of Britain pair join Swanage roster

TWO Bulleid Battle of Britain light Pacifics are set to join the Swanage Railway’s operational fleet.

Fifteen years after it last steamed, Battle of Britain No. 34072 257 Squadron will be making its comeback imminently.

Following the completion of its overhaul at Herston Works, the locomotive was taken by low loader back to the heritage line’s metals at Norden on August 21.

Bulleid Battle of Britain Pacific No. 34072 257 Squadron at Norden station on the Swanage Railway on August 21 after being delivered from the line’s Herston Works following the completion of its overhaul. ANDREW PM WRIGHT

Owner Southern Locomotives Ltd was hoping to have No. 34072 steam again for its AGM on September 30. However, SLL’s Simon Troy said the boiler inspector has asked for a few adjustments, which could mean 257 Squadron does not haul public trains until October.

257 Squadron was outshopped from Brighton Works in April 1948, and worked heavy continental expresses from Dover to London. Following electrification, it was reallocated to Exmouth Junction in 1958, and often hauled the Ilfracombe section of the ‘Atlantic Coast Express.’

In July 1964, 257 Squadron was transferred to Eastleigh, its final shed, from where it was withdrawn that October. However, that was not the end of its BR career as it was resteamed again two months later to haul an enthusiasts special from Fareham to Southampton docks.

257 Squadron reached Dai Woodham’s scrapyard at Barry in March 1965, and stayed there until it was bought for preservation in November 1984. It last steamed at Swanage in 2002.

Another SLL ex-Barry locomotive, sister No. 34053 Sir Keith Park, will be moved to Swanage in early 2018 after working on the Severn Valley Railway for the first five years of its boiler ticket.

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