BR Standard Class 4 Tank 80097 – An Overview
Comprehensive is probably the best way to describe the restoration work that’s been undertaken on 80097 since its rescue from Woodham’s of Barry in 1985. As with any Barry ‘wreck’ from that era little in terms of boiler fittings, motion and other easily removable parts had been left behind by the time the Bury Steam Locomotive Company had secured its future for the ELR. Since arrival at Bury, there has been little left untouched on the locomotive.
The chassis has received significant attention with virtually all components having been stripped, cleaned, de-rusted, refurbished and fettled. Work on the wheel sets, both driving bogie and pony truck, has extended to re-profiling the tyres, re-machining the journals and then marrying with the re-furbished axle boxes. This enabled the frames to be reunited with its wheels.
The many and varied boiler fittings and other non-ferrous items that attracted the attention of others whilst at Barry have had to be replaced. These, in the main, have been remanufactured at significant cost and all now await re-fitting.
The extensive network of lubrication pipes that feed the axle boxes, motion parts and cylinders have been replaced, and this has included some painstaking work in ensuring that the final pipe work arrangements mirror the original BR design drawings.
Replacement of those missing valve motion components, side rods and connecting rods has been a monumental exercise which has required ‘original’ parts having been traced and also new having to be manufactured. Work on refurbishment of the valves and cylinders has been equally meticulous and extensive. The side and rear water tanks/bunker have been extensively repaired in order to ensure that deterioration suffered during the 20 years at Barry has been put to rest; they have been reunited with the loco along with the smokebox which has been trial fitted to allow other work to proceed in anticipation of the return of the overhauled boiler. And so we come to the main purpose behind our appeal for help. As is usual in long term restoration projects such as this, the boiler has been the last major component to receive attention. Extensive work is required on the boiler barrel and firebox and whilst a lot of the minor works have been undertaken by the restoration team the more technical aspects of the repair have to be carried out by specialist contractors if we are to ensure long and reliable service from the loco.
Discussions are ongoing between the ELLRCo. and the Bury Steam Locomotive Company (BSLCo.) to reach an agreement for the ELLRCo. to fund the overhaul of the boiler and reassembly of the locomotive with the intention of completing the works within the next 18-months.
Such an arrangement will be the subject of a formal agreement between the ELLRCo. and BSLCo. to secure the loco’s future and ensure its long-term operation on the ELR.
The British Railways Standard Class 4 tank is an extremely popular class of steam locomotive, one of the successful BR standard classes built during the 1950s. They were used primarily on commuter and outer suburban services as well pick-up goods trains.
On the nationalisation of British Railways in 1948 the London Midland Region had a number of ex-London, Midland and Scottish Railway 2-6-4T and the Western Region a number of GWR Large Prairie 2-6-2T types. These tank engines were particularly suited to commuter and secondary services. However, particularly in Scotland and the Southern Region, the situation was not so good with large numbers of pre-grouping types struggling on.
On the decision to build the BR standard series of locomotives, a series of class four tank engines was ordered, based on the ex-LMS Fairburn 2-6-4T with some modifications. The lineage of the class could therefore be tracked through the LMS/BR Class 4 2-6-4T locomotives back to the Fowler design of 1927.
Design work was undertaken in Brighton with the programme being overseen by R.A. Riddles. The principal modifications to the Fairburn design involved the reduction of their size in order to be a go anywhere locomotive.
155 of the class were across sites around the UK with 130 being built in Brighton. Others came from Derby and Doncaster works over a 6 years period from 1951. More were planned however the order was cancelled due to the impending dieselisation.
The Standard 4 tanks were originally allocated to all regions of British Railways, except the Western. They became particularly associated with the London, Tilbury and Southend Line working commuter services out of London until that route was electrified in 1962.
They were also widely used in East Sussex and Kent on those lines of the former London Brighton and South Coast Railway that were not electrified. Another group worked on the Scottish region on the Glasgow commuter services however during their later years in service they were deployed to the Western region too.
In the 1960s there was a mass withdrawal of steam locomotive classes. Older types were withdrawn in preference to the Standard 4s, which class remained intact until 1964. The final nine were withdrawn from the Southern Region on 9 July 1967.
No fewer than fifteen Standard Four tanks have survived the cutter’s torch. This is the highest number for any preserved BR standard class, and is second only to the now eighteen strong LMS Black Fives as the most preserved main line type. 80097 is one of three Standard Tanks that has yet to haul a train in preservation. However, this is about to change…
The ELR Needs More Resident Steam Power.
The popularity of the Standard Class 4 has already been proved with the long term hire and operation of 80080 from the Princess Royal Class Locomotive Trust. The simple of operation and its economic capabilities have made it a popular engine amongst crews and railway engineers.
The locomotive has proved to be a very capable and reliable performer having been tasked with hauling some the railways heaviest trains and also being the mainstay of motive power for a long period time. The class’ versatility has been proven and therefore the completion of the restoration of 80097 would be an obvious advantage to the ELR.
Funding the Completion of 80097
The final piece of the jigsaw for 80097 is the boiler work needed to return the locomotive to steam. The boiler is estimated to cost around £90,000 which would see the engine completed and in traffic towards the end of 2015.
To help us achieve the completion of 80097 we will require help from many sources. We would welcome any donations which are a vital source of income for the East Lancashire Railway. All gifts, both large and small are gratefully received and would see the locomotive completed on time.
There are many ways to give:
• A Regular Donation – make a monthly donation of whatever you can afford – Click here to download a standing order form
• Donate online – directly to the East Lancashire Railway – it’s quick, easy and secure
• A Gift in your Will – Ensuring the past is for the future