GREEN LIGHT FOR T9
RESTORATION OF No 30120 TO GO AHEAD
ALL parties concerned are delighted to announce that – following recent approval from
the National Railway Museum – the “green light” has formally been given for the return
to steam of ex-London & South Western Railway T9 Class 4-4-0 locomotive No (30)120
to be based on the Bodmin & Wenford Railway in Cornwall.
The agreement to return the iconic veteran of the steam age to full working order,
which has been eagerly anticipated, is a partnership between the National Railway
Museum, the Bodmin & Wenford Railway Trust and The Flour Mill workshop at
Bream in the Forest of Dean.
The National Collection locomotive – the only member of the T9 Class to have
escaped the cutter‟s torch after the final withdrawal of steam traction in the 1960s –
has been stripped down to its component parts at The Flour Mill, where a full
engineering assessment of the 1899-built locomotive was carried out prior to the
“green light” being given by the NRM for its return to steam. Engineers at The
Flour Mill have successfully repaired the cylinder block – which was known to be a
problem since its later British Railways days – after investigative dismantling
revealed holes in the exhaust steam passages on the top of the block.
Work on the locomotive is now continuing at The Flour Mill, with the overhaul of the
classic 8-wheel „water cart‟ tender being undertaken in the Railway‟s own workshop
at Bodmin General. All the costs of the overhaul of the locomotive and tender are
being met by the Bodmin & Wenford Railway Trust.
The T9 will be returned to steam in British Railways lined black livery as No 30120,
which is very much in keeping with the atmosphere of a 1950s Cornish branch line
which the Bodmin & Wenford is striving hard to recreate, a perfect complement to the
line‟s BR carmine and cream Mark 1 coaches, and was the livery carried by the
locomotive when it worked over "The Withered Arm" lines in North Cornwall in the
early 1960s prior to withdrawal, and thus how many people will remember it.
No 30120 will be based on the Bodmin & Wenford Railway – so near to where it used
to work almost fifty years ago – and will be a perfect partner for another ex-LSWR
locomotive that is also part of the National Collection and based on the BWR, Beattie
2-4-0 well tank No 30587, which was returned to steam under a very similar
partnership arrangement in 2001-02.
It is currently anticipated that the locomotive and tender will be re-united at Bodmin
by the early summer next year, whereupon a comprehensive programme of running-
in and crew familiarisation will take place, prior to No 30120 making its full public
debut at the Railway‟s Steam Gala which will again be held in its traditional slot over
the first weekend in September.
Completion of the T9 will also mean that the Bodmin & Wenford will be home to no
fewer than eight „appropriate‟ Cornish steam locomotives.
“We are all absolutely delighted by the news that the only surviving T9 locomotive
has received the „green light‟ to return to steam back in North Cornwall,” comments
Richard Jones, General Manager of the BWR, “and we are grateful to the National
Railway Museum for entrusting the custodianship of this iconic locomotive to us.”
“The Bodmin & Wenford have shown themselves to be excellent custodians of a
National Collection locomotive with the Beattie well tank,” comments Helen Ashby,
Head of Knowledge & Collections at the National Railway Museum, “and we look
forward to working with them, and the Flour Mill, again with the return to steam of the
T9. Seeing the engine working back in North Cornwall is highly appropriate.”
“We have already made excellent progress with the overhaul of No 30120,”
comments Bill Parker from The Flour Mill, “and look forward to seeing the locomotive
returned to steam next year.”
Historical notes about LSWR T9 Class 4-4-0 No 30120
The T9 Class locomotive No 120 (British Railways No 30120) is the only survivor of
the express passenger locomotives built by the London and South Western Railway
to the designs of Dugald Drummond (1840-1912). The engine is preserved as part
of the National Collection.
The T9 Class is regarded as the finest and most successful of the inside-cylinder 4-4-
0 classes which Drummond designed between 1876 and 1912, for three railways in
turn. A total of 66 T9‟s were built – by both the LSWR at Nine Elms and by Dübs of
Glasgow – and they were known as Greyhounds for their fine turn of speed and
smoothness of operation. All the class had 6ft 7ins driving wheels, 18½” x 26”
cylinders, and 175lbs/sq. in. boiler pressure, though the three batches differed
slightly in some detailed respects.
No 120 was one of the first Nine Elms batch, completed in August 1899 at a recorded
cost of £2271. The engine was initially allocated to Nine Elms shed and in 1900 was
one of ten of the class fitted with carriage-heating equipment. In May 1907 No 120‟s
6-wheel tender was replaced by an 8-wheel „water cart‟ tender, being the last T9 to
receive one of these tenders. In January 1915 the locomotive moved on to
Bournemouth shed, where it would have worked expresses to London and Oxford.
No 120 was recorded as transferred to Plymouth in October 1923, but by this time
the LSWR had become part of the Southern Railway. The T9 Class were all rebuilt,
to accommodate superheaters, in the 1920s, and it is in this form that enabled
several members of the class to continue in service well into the British Railways era
and in which No 120 is preserved.
Between 1932 and 1950, No 120 was based largely at Eastleigh and Fratton
sheds. In 1948 No 120, like all other Southern engines, became British Railways
property, and was renumbered 30120, and painted in BR lined black, in June 1950.
by this time, the surviving locomotives continued to find use on lightweight secondary
passenger and parcels/van trains, though they still had regular passenger workings
on the ex-LSWR lines west of Exeter (which were known as “The Withered Arm”).
No 30120 remained based at Eastleigh for most of the post-war years, and received
its last general overhaul in May-June 1958 at Eastleigh Works, again emerging in BR
lined black but this time with the later crest.
During the winter of 1960-61 it was decided that a T9 should be preserved (and
restored to LSWR livery), and No 30120 became the chosen engine. The
locomotive returned to the West Country and moved on to Exmouth Junction shed in
March 1961. Most of the T9 workings in the west were centred on Okehampton, and
took the engines to Plymouth, Wadebridge, Padstow and Bude. No 30120
continued on these workings for several months, but was then retired back to
Eastleigh for preservation.
By now the only surviving T9, the loco emerged from Eastleigh Works after a „heavy
casual repair‟ in March 1962, restored as No 120 in Drummond LSWR lined apple
green livery. During the next two years or so, the T9 appeared on a number of
enthusiast specials – sometimes in tandem with other locomotives – including a
return to North Cornwall on 27 April 1963, when No 120 worked a RCTS/PRC special
between Exeter and Padstow and back.
In its early preservation days, No 120 was stored at various locations including
Stratford (Eastern Region), Preston Park (Brighton), Tyseley and York. From 1981,
the T9 went on loan to the Mid-Hants Railway, where it was overhauled and returned
to working order, again resplendent in BR lined black as No 30120 (as seen in the
photograph), and subsequently also saw service on the Swanage Railway.
Following the expiry of its boiler certificate it was placed in the care of the Bluebell
Railway, who were able to provide undercover accommodation, and access for the
public, due to shortage of space at York, where it was based for over a decade. A
proposal to restore the locomotive to operation was discussed, but it was concluded
that the Bluebell had too many urgent priorities of its own to be able to undertake
what was likely to be a very major mechanical and boiler overhaul.
The Bodmin & Wenford Railway became custodians of the locomotive in early 2008,
after agreement was reached with the National Railway Museum, and it was moved
back to Cornwall, being initially put on static display. The T9 moved to The Flour
Mill in the early spring of 2009 for an engineering assessment to be carried out to
assess the cost and feasibility of No 30120 being restored to working order.