swaNage MauNsell ‘u-Boat’ could go MaiN liNe iNstead of ‘N’
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 No. 31806 last worked on the national network in January 1964, when it was withdrawn from Guildford; while No. 31874 last did so in March of the same year, from Exmouth Junction.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.