For many years, the National Railway Museum’s LSWR Beattie well tank No. 30587 was locked in behind a concrete barrier in the South Devon Railway’s Buckfastleigh museum, seemingly with no hope of ever running again.
It was one of a trio which, before the heritage railway movement got into full swing, drew enthusiasts from all over Britain to the sharply-curving Wenfordbridge mineral branch in Cornwall. The sight of three 19th-century 2-4-0Ts – which had first been earmarked for scrapping at the turn of the century but which could not be replaced on the tight radii, was irresistible to 1950s enthusiasts.
When finally withdrawn, two of the trio were preserved, No. 30587 as part of the National Collection. The other survivor, No. 30585, went to the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre.
Neither had been seen in action for many years before late 2002, when Bill Parker completed the overhaul of No. 30587 at his Flour Mill workshops at Bream in the Forest of Dean.
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