News from the Bulleid Society reveals that scenes such as those posted here have taken a step closer to being repeated. The boiler is to be removed from it’s frames and sent to Crewe for overhaul.
Seeing this impressive rebuilt “light pacific” was very special given that I had memories of seeing it as a rusting hulk slowly being restored as a long-term project for many years. It is amazing when you see the transformation of what was a hunk of rusty metal into a living, breathing steam locomotive and it is a real testament of the dedication and hard graft on the part of so many volunteers. This is one reason why I follow the locomotive’s progress with much interest!
This was the first rebuilt Battle of Britain class locomotive to be steamed in preservation, though this is not quite as poignant a milestone when you consider that it is mechanically identical to the rebuilt West Country class locomotives. Archie, as the engine is known affectionately; is one of ten rebuilt Bulleid light pacific’s to have survived and looks radically different to its unrebuilt brothers and sisters (click here for an unrebuilt example).
The overhaul will require a significant firebox repair, but work is now progressing – click here to read the latest report.
There is much debate on whether the rebuilding of these locomotives was for the better; it certainly improved their reliability and ease of maintenance but also made them heavier and not as free-steaming. Whichever allegiance you have, we are very fortunate in having so many examples of both rebuilt and unrebuilt versions and I am sure you’ll agree that it will be great to see Archie in steam again in the near future.