Posts Tagged ‘Beattie Well Tank’

The Beattie Bash

June 25, 2016

Back in 1962 I travelled on a special train around the suburbs of South West London. For much of the journey it was hauled by a pair of truly old steam locos – engines which dated from the 1870s. The previous year I had been to Wadebridge in Cornwall to see these engines. My dad, bless him, seemed to realise that it was important to me. Both the visit to Wadebridge and the special train have featured on this blog.

Sadly, I had no usable camera for the special train so I have no photos. But on May 29th 2016 a chance came to sort of rectify that for the identical two engines were due to be at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre at Quainton Road. And we were there, complete with camera. It was possible, once again, to ride behind those two locos and see them in action.

The engines were designed by an engineer called Joseph Beattie and the railway centre dubbed this event, ‘The Beattie Bash’.

First off there was just one loco running.


It is a lovely little engine but up at the end of the yard, the other old lady had been prepared and was about to appear. This loco was detached from the train.

image004And then the other loco was backed out of the yard.


For a moment these old girls – each some 140 years old – were side by side but soon they were getting organised on the train.


And here they come.


And here are my two old friends – first met at Wadebridge on 24th July 1961 – as they take a breather at Quainton Road 0n 29th May 2016.


A Well Tank

May 30, 2015

Do you know, it is just about a month since I last wrote about trains although I did have some luggage labels about three weeks ago? No wonder I am suffering from withdrawal symptoms!

Perhaps it is time again to look at an old friend from the very early 1960s – it’s a sweet little tank engine which for some reason was classed as an ‘0298’. The class was also known as Beattie Well Tanks. They were designed by Joseph Beattie and a well tank, for water, was sited under the boiler and footplate.

These tanks were introduced in 1863 to operate what were then very lightweight London suburban trains. They worked well but as train sizes had to grow they became too small for the task. Production ceased in 1875 and locos migrated to the west of England to operate branch line services there. The engine I show here was part of a batch produced in 1874.

By 1895 most of the 85 engines built had gone but three had found their way to the Bodmin area in Cornwall where they were found to be the ideal loco for the china clay trains on the Wenford Bridge line. The three old locos stayed put until 1962 enabling me as a train spotter to see them and as a rail enthusiast to travel on a special train around south west London which was hauled by two of them. It should be said that the locos were quite considerably altered during what proved to be a very long working life.

Two of them have been preserved and here is one of them on shed at Bodmin as a preserved loco in the year 2003.


What a lovely old lady this is – and it is one of the locos I have been pulled by. Of course, I have my ticket for that journey – but no photos taken by me.


Here we see (not for the first time on this blog) my brother, on the right, and I spotting the loco at Wadebridge in 1961.


No doubt, like most people, I can be amazed at the changes which have taken place during my life time. It seems unthinkable, now, that you might find mainline railways being powered by locos or trains that were close on 90 years old. But there she was and still doing a useful job.