Tena­cious ‘Ter­ri­ers’

Steam Railway (UK) - - Countdown To Nationalisation - SR

Colonel Hol­man Fred Stephens’ Kent & East Sus­sex Rail­way (KESR) came to an end in 1947. A few months af­ter this pic­ture of Stroud­ley ‘Ter­rier’ No. 3 Bo­diam was taken at Rol­ven­den on Septem­ber 24 1947, the Roberts­bridge-Head­corn line suc­cumbed to na­tion­al­i­sa­tion and was ab­sorbed into the South­ern Re­gion of the newly formed Bri­tish Rail­ways, so end­ing nearly five decades of in­de­pen­dent op­er­a­tion. Opened in stages be­tween 1900-05, the 21-mile KESR was the best-known of all of the lines in Stephens’ light rail­way em­pire. Like so many other light rail­ways, such as the We­ston, Cleve­don & Por­tishead Light Rail­way (another of Stephens’ ac­qui­si­tions), the KESR proved to be a safe haven for the ex-Lon­don, Brighton & South Coast Rail­way ‘Ter­ri­ers’, which were rapidly be­ing with­drawn by the turn of the cen­tury as larger en­gines took over the Lon­don sub­ur­ban work for which they had been de­signed. The rail­way ac­quired two of them, Nos. 70 Poplar and 71 Wap­ping, in 1901 and 1905 re­spec­tively. The for­mer be­came KESR No. 3 Bo­diam and worked for the next 30 years un­til it was with­drawn along with No. 5 Rol­ven­den (for­merly No. 71) in 1931. The lat­ter was can­ni­balised for parts to re­turn Bo­diam to work­ing or­der in 1933, and ten years later the ‘Ter­rier’ was re­built with an ‘A1X’ boiler. Na­tion­al­i­sa­tion in­evitably changed the na­ture and iden­tity of the idio­syn­cratic and some­what ram­shackle line, one ca­su­alty be­ing the de­light­ful liv­er­ies and num­bers ap­plied to the KESR’s lo­co­mo­tives dur­ing the rail­way’s in­de­pen­dent days. Bo­diam would be­come Bri­tish Rail­ways No. 32670, with BR lined black and early ‘cy­cling lion’ crest even­tu­ally re­plac­ing the KESR blue liv­ery and oval crest. Af­ter na­tion­al­i­sa­tion, No. 32670 moved to Ash­ford and, in April 1963, ended up be­ing trans­ferred to the Hayling Island branch where it would re­main un­til the line’s clo­sure in Novem­ber that year. The ‘Ter­rier’ would be re­prieved a sec­ond time, for it was pur­chased pri­vately and moved to the pre­served Kent & East Sus­sex Rail­way in April the fol­low­ing year, en­ter­ing rev­enueearn­ing ser­vice on the re­vived rail­way ten years later, bring­ing its story full cir­cle. One pre­served ‘Ter­rier’ would es­cape na­tion­al­i­sa­tion, for the very same month this scene of Bo­diam was recorded, its class­mate No. 82 Box­hill was saved for pos­ter­ity by the South­ern Rail­way and re­stored to Stroud­ley con­di­tion, com­plete with Im­proved Engine Green liv­ery. The 0-6-0T would even­tu­ally be­come part of the Na­tional Col­lec­tion.


KESR ‘A1X’ 0-6-0T No. 3, Bo­diam, at Rol­ven­den on Septem­ber 24 1947.

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