35025 Brocklebank Line

The long road to restoration

Brocklebank Line was withdrawn from BR service on 1st September 1964 and arrived at Woodham's scrap yard in 1965. As is well-known, unlike most scrap yards that cut up locos shortly after they arrived, Woodhams had a mass of coal trucks to scrap - the steel going back to Part Talbot or Llanwern steel works - and over 200 locos collected in the former marshalling yard at Barry. Over the following 30 years most of these locos were sold to a range of preservation groups and left Barry for destinations across Britain. A small number were cut up in 1980, and 35025 was lucky to escape - it was next on the list for the gas axe. The loco survived 21 years in the scrap yard, though like most of the others it lost its tender.

35025

35025 at the station at Quorn.

The Southern 8P Preservation Group, led by Keith Marshall, bought the loco for 7,850, and paid a further 1,200 to have its asbestos lagging removed by a specialist contractor. The loco was the 169th to leave Woodhams, in February 1986, moving to the Great Central Railway, in the long siding of Quorn yard. The Brocklebank Line Association was formed, and in 1988 it moved with PMV S1153S, which the was purchased as a tool/sales stand store to the stub siding south of Rothley Station, which was to be its home for four years.

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35025 at Rothley. Some cleaning and painting has been started on the boiler and cab.

In 2005 the GCR gave the Association notice to quit; it eventually moved to Sellindge in 2007, but not before a burglary at the Loughborough parts store which led to the loss of many valuable pieces, few of which were recovered. Facilities at Sellindge are minimal, being an open field, but it was closer to the homes of many of the supporters and other groups shared the site.

Sellindge

Sadly the pace of restoration did not continue after the move to Sellindge. Less work was done and donations faded. A plan to sell the loco to the Churnett Valley Railway came and went. In 2019 the Association's chairman, Brian Seddon, approached SLL with a view to the loco passing to the company. Agreement was reached and 35025 became part of SLL's fleet, adding a Merchant Navy almost 15 years since SLL had sold Port Line.

35025

SLL's first 35025 working party at Sellindge was on 14th June 2020.

SLL's immediate mission is to secure the loco and components, and to clear the site to enable access. Restoring a large loco in a field is not a viable plan in the 21st century, and at some point the loco must be moved to a location where it can be secure, and ultimately restored.

There's a new photo gallery showing work at Sellindge from 2020 onwards here.

October 2020 update

Since the first working party in June all wheels have been stripped down to bare metal and the first coat of primer applied. All the brake rigging has been marked up and removed and is now in secure storage. The smokebox has been removed and awaits derusting and primering. The sand boxes have been removed as have most of the running plates, all of which will be off by November.

35025

Weekly working parties have cleared the jungle that surrounded the loco and are dismantling and cleaning parts.

The boiler which has been thoroughly cleaned inside and out with the small amount of rust removed from behind the tubeplate. It has had its NDT and MPI testing and all was more than satisfactory. We await the final boiler inspector's report advising work which will be necessary to return the locomotive to traffic.

The next job will be to lift the frames off the drivers and moved to a position near our newly refurbished containers, one of which has been partly converted into a workshop for the Winter. We will be laying a 60 foot length of track on which the bogie, driving wheels, frames and trailing truck will be lined up. The tender tank which looks to be in reasonable condition after so many years outside will be placed behind on sleepers, whilst the boiler will be lifted out of its current position and placed adjacent to the frames.

The area next to our containers is kindly being cleared by the landlord so that the cab and smokebox can be placed next to them. We will therefore have the entire kit of parts in a small area within easy reach of our 'workshop'. We are running weekly working parties as a minimum, normally on Tuesdays, but these can be flexible. There is much non-skilled work to do at this stage as we have an enormous amount of parts which have to be stripped of paint and/or derusted and then primered, etc. We are looking at costs of possibly having our own grit blasting facility at least on a temporary basis owing to the volume of parts. Please contact Simon on southernlocos@btinternet.com if you would like to help.

35025

The brake linkages have been carefully numbered and are being removed.

While SLL's board and supporters would like to see 35025 running we are conscious of the scale of the project. Our initial commitment is to conserve the loco and its parts and to get the site into a manageable condition. Restoration would have a six figure price tag, and SLL has existing overhaul and restoration commitments. However if the level of support we have seen so far remains, we can continue to undertake the initial stages of its full restoration.

June 2020 update

The initial tasks some of which have already started, led by Richard Moffatt, are:

Accumulated debris and rubbish cleared from around the loco.
Life expired protective boarding and sheeting removed and disposed of.
Vulnerable journal surfaces cleaned and regreased or Denzo applied.
Peeling/insecure paintwork - commenced cutting back to bare metal and priming.
Axlebox Lubrication carried out and hornguides flooded with oil.
Middle engine eccentric (in position) accessed and lubricated.
Smoke Box sand boxes removed and placed into store.
Lower slide bars left and right, inner and outer removed, cleaned, oiled up and placed into store.
Brake rigging treated with diesel to free up prior to removal to store.
Small storage area for hand tools etc set up in SLL 40' parts storage container.
New protective sheeting deployed on loco to provide future weather protection.

Looking further ahead the plans include:

Cut back deteriorated paintwork and apply new protective coating, to include wheels and frames where access possible.
Remove Brake rigging, repaint and place in storage.
Remove smoke box and repaint.
Remove middle and trailing sand boxes and place in storage.
Consider jacking up loco to enable inspection of Driving/leading and trailing truck axleboxes.
Check all driving axle centring dimensions against setting out standard.
Carry out complete updated inventory of parts in 40' storage container.
Clean down and repaint, cab, boiler and tender tank.
...plus an absolute myriad of other tasks - but the above will do for starters.