pub­lic­ity of­fi­cer for the 82045 steam Lo­co­mo­tive trust CHRIS PROUD­FOOT ar­gues that its bridg­north-built ‘3mt’ tank should not be the last to be built for pre­served lines, but stresses that it won’t in­volve this pi­o­neer­ing team.

Steam Railway (UK) - - Contents -

An en­thu­si­ast web­site has for many years been run­ning a thread en­ti­tled 82045 – The Way Ahead? This in­ter­est­ing piece of rhetoric was not coined by our own Sev­ern Val­ley Rail­way-based group and we do not know its prove­nance. It does, how­ever, point to one of the ques­tions we have been asked most fre­quently dur­ing the life of the 82045 project: When are you go­ing to build another one? The im­me­di­ate an­swer to this, I’m afraid, is that we aren’t. At nearly 65, I am one of the youngest mem­bers of the group, which I think ex­plains why we don’t in­tend to re­peat what has grown from its tiny and much-de­rided be­gin­nings into a Her­culean effort that has won the re­spect of the heritage move­ment and is now within sight of its goal. This is to re­turn to the up­per world one of Rid­dles’s per­fectly good - but com­ing along too late in the day - Class 3 2-6-2 tank en­gines, some 50 years af­ter the mor­tal re­mains of the last ex­am­ples had dis­ap­peared in the smelters of the all-de­vour­ing Hades that was the end of Bri­tish steam. When BR’s 1955 Mod­erni­sa­tion Plan put paid to schemes for building more steam lo­co­mo­tives, the ‘82XXX’ class num­bered 45, Nos. 82000-44. Out­stand­ing or­ders for 18 more, Nos. 82045-62, were can­celled. The first of these is well on the way to its be­lated en­try into traf­fic. But what of the others? The first thing I have to ad­mit is that we’ve al­ways known that our engine would never be ‘the belle of the ball’. We’ve been mo­ti­vated all along by the be­lief that a sim­ple, mod­ern tank engine is just what the heritage lines of our coun­try need if the ex­pe­ri­ence of trav­el­ling be­hind steam is to be ex­pe­ri­enced by fu­ture gen­er­a­tions. I don’t even think that the ‘82000’ class is any­one’s par­tic­u­lar favourite, at­trac­tive though these neat, ef­fec­tive lit­tle en­gines were. The ethos of the project has al­ways been about prac­ti­cal­ity, and our ef­forts have been driven by the knowl­edge that ex­ist­ing lo­co­mo­tives - bear­ing in mind that the youngest of the BR Stan­dards are now 60 years old - can­not be ex­pected to con­tinue in in­ten­sive ser­vice, day in, day out, in­def­i­nitely. Ask any of the chief me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neers of our heritage lines up and down the coun­try, and I’m pretty sure they will tell you the same thing.

LOOK­ING tO tHe Fu­ture

From the start, we’d al­ways hoped deep down that No. 82045, if we suc­ceeded in building it, might be a pro­to­type for other groups to take in­spi­ra­tion from. Now suc­cess is all but as­sured, will No. 82045 be the end of it? The truth of the mat­ter is that, if se­ries pro­duc­tion is to be con­tem­plated,

two very big fac­tors need to be taken into con­sid­er­a­tion: Where is there a suit­ably equipped and staffed fa­cil­ity for a lo­co­mo­tive pro­duc­tion line, and who could pro­vide the ma­jor in­jec­tion of cap­i­tal needed to get pro­duc­tion un­der way? There is a sound eco­nomic case for the se­ries building of these en­gines, but be­fore the ad­van­tages of econ­omy of scale could start to kick in, a great deal of money would need to be laid on the line, and those fund­ing such a scheme would need to be pa­tient while wait­ing for their in­vest­ment to pay off. As re­gards set­ting up a fa­cil­ity for building these (and other) steam lo­co­mo­tives, I think that an ex­cel­lent case could be made for grants from the Heritage Lot­tery Fund (HLF). So far, as I know all too well from ex­pe­ri­ence, the HLF has res­o­lutely set its face against new builds on the grounds that they are not his­tor­i­cal arte­facts. It might, though, look more favourably on a scheme that is aimed at se­cur­ing the over­all fu­ture of heritage steam - legacy as well as new - as well as pre­serv­ing some of the tra­di­tional en­gi­neer­ing skills that made such an im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tion to Bri­tain’s great­ness in the past. Bar­ring some­thing mon­strous hap­pen­ing to our way of life, leisure and tourism seem set to be growth in­dus­tries in the fu­ture, and the pop­u­lar­ity of tourist steam rail­ways shows no sign of di­min­ish­ing, so there is a sig­nif­i­cant eco­nomic fac­tor to be taken into con­sid­er­a­tion here. It would cer­tainly be worth ex­plor­ing. To those who ob­ject to the idea of BR Stan­dard tanks crop­ping up all over the place, I can only say that the pas­sen­ger rev­enue of our heritage lines is dic­tated al­most en­tirely by the fam­ily mar­ket. En­thu­si­ast traf­fic ac­counts for a sur­pris­ingly small pro­por­tion of it, and most fam­i­lies out for the day are not too both­ered about what is pulling their train, pro­vided it is a steam engine!


It’s im­por­tant to stress that we have never in­tended for new en­gines to sup­plant the ex­ist­ing fleet. Sur­viv­ing steam lo­co­mo­tives are a cher­ished link to our past, and their work­ing lives can be pro­longed if new builds are able to share some of the bur­den. Doubts have also been ex­pressed about the abil­ity of a Class 3 to cope with heavy trains on the long­est lines, but we have no such anx­i­eties: they han­dled sub­stan­tial sum­mer trains over the much longer Cam­brian sys­tem, where Western Re­gion crews came to like them and achieved some sparkling per­for­mances. If 1,500 gal­lons of wa­ter and three and three-quar­ter tons of coal don’t seem ad­e­quate, then there is no rea­son why the vir­tu­ally iden­ti­cal ‘77XXX’ ten­der de­sign shouldn’t be res­ur­rected, too: these car­ried six tons of coal and had ex­actly twice the wa­ter ca­pac­ity. It has been said from time to time that there was never a good case for building ei­ther of the Class 3 types in the first place. That may or may not have been true - but there cer­tainly is now! Although those in­volved in building No. 82045 have said they don’t want to do it all over again, they stand ready to of­fer their hard-won ex­per­tise to those who might want to pick up the torch. In the mean­time, you will find an ap­peal leaflet in this is­sue of your magazine. Please join us and help raise the re­main­ing £100,000 or so that we need to fin­ish our pro­to­type - if I dare call it that!


The in­spi­ra­tion! The sec­ond of the ‘3MT’ 2-6-2T breed, No. 82001, leaves Pylle Halt with a High­bridgeEver­creech Junc­tion train in April 1962.


Ten new wheels in 2016 and the new boiler be­ing riv­eted in 2017. See­ing is be­liev­ing. No. 82045 grad­u­ally emerges at Bridg­north.

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