swaNage MauNsell ‘u-Boat’ could go MaiN liNe iN­stead of ‘N’

Steam Railway (UK) - - News -

Maunsell ‘U’ 2-6-0 No. 31806 could re­turn to the main line in­stead of the unique sur­viv­ing ‘N’ class ‘Mogul’. In prepa­ra­tion for ex­ten­sion of its ser­vices into Ware­ham, the Swanage Rail­way is fit­ting out the ‘U-boat’ to po­ten­tially take the main line elec­tronic ap­pa­ra­tus in­tended for the ‘N’, No. 31874. A £75,000 Depart­ment for Trans­port grant last year was suf­fi­cient to pay for one set of TPWS, AWS, GSM-R and OTM-R equip­ment for No. 31874 (SR455). But with the over­haul of the ‘Wool­worth’s’ boiler at Adam Dal­gleish Engi­neer­ing in Stock­ton - and No. 31806 cur­rently in Her­ston works for win­ter main­te­nance - the rail­way is tak­ing the chance to fit the lat­ter en­gine with the nec­es­sary wiring con­duit and bat­tery boxes, so it could be given the equip­ment in­stead if re­quired. No. 31806’s pre­vi­ous over­haul, and its cur­rent bot­tom end work (see ‘The Ros­ter’ pages 32-35), have all been car­ried out to main line stan­dard. How­ever, Swanage Rail­way Gen­eral Man­ager Matt Green said no de­ci­sion has yet been taken as to which will re­ceive the elec­tronic gear first. It is the rail­way’s ul­ti­mate in­ten­tion to cer­tify all three of its South­ern ‘Moguls’ for main line use, Mr Green con­firmed; the third is ‘U’ No. 31625, cur­rently in store at Furze­brook. That en­gine is the only mem­ber of the trio to have run on the ‘big rail­way’ since BR days, hav­ing been used on Mid-Hants Rail­way main line char­ters in the 1990s and 2000s. No. 31806 last worked on the na­tional net­work in Jan­uary 1964, when it was with­drawn from Guild­ford; while No. 31874 last did so in March of the same year, from Ex­mouth Junc­tion. All three are owned by John Bunch, and on a 25-year loan to the Swanage Rail­way.

the bot­tom end of ‘N’ 2-6-0 No. 31874 un­der over­haul (left) and ‘u’ 2-6-0 No. 31806 re­ceiv­ing win­ter main­te­nance, in her­ston works on april 1. in be­tween are al­most­com­plete ‘Bat­tle of Bri­tain’ No. 34072 257 Squadron, and south­ern lo­co­mo­tives ltd’s april fool ‘leader’ cab front.

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