L&B 2‑6‑2T factfile
The Lynton & Barnstaple Railway probably ranks number one in the list of those closed railways whose reputation far exceeds its contribution to the nation’s transport network. It was a main line in miniature, a straggling 20-mile trek across the edge of Exmoor, to link the popular twin villages of Lynton and Lynmouth with Barnstaple, a main line, and civilisation. The L&B ordered three 2-6-2Ts from Leeds builder Manning Wardle, penned by William W. Szlumper. They were handsome machines, almost colonial in appearance. They were un-numbered but named after local rivers, Yeo, Exe and Taw, and were delivered to North Devon in 1897. Yeo and Taw were employed on works trains, while Exe remained in store; it was during the storage period that its injector pipework was ‘modified’. All three were in use when the L&B opened in May 1898. They’d been joined by a 2-4-2T from US firm Baldwin. They were built with open bunkers and a shrouded cab front, which trapped steam and caused visibility problems. Between 1903 and 1913, Yeo, Exe and Taw were altered to enclose the bunker and cut back the cab front. They were delivered in dark green with red and black lining-out, but without any identification of their owner. Following negotiations with the LSWR, the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway was acquired by the Southern Railway just after the Grouping. Among its investments, the SR ordered a fourth 2-6-2T from Manning Wardle. Called Lew, it was similar to the original trio but too different for Heljan to tool as a model. Initially, small plates indicated a change of ownership. Gradually, however, Yeo, Exe and Taw appeared in Southern colours with numbers – 759, 760 and 761 respectively. They worked the line until the last train ran on September 29 1935. All three went for scrap. However, the reborn Lynton & Barnstaple Railway has started work on a replica of Yeo.