“Back to Black” ‘2884’ class 3850

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Owned by the Dinmore Manor group, 3850 appeared along with the group’s flagship loco Dinmore manor and their latest rust bucket, 2874. I might write a bit more about the Dinmore manor LTD’s aims in another post, but they seem to have some good solid plans to ensure the future of all four of their locomotives. 2-8-0s are hardly unknown to the GWSR, the 8F is one, and of course 2807, the oldest British 2-8-0 in existence is normally resident on the line, and at least two other members of 3850’s class have visited the railway in times past. 3850 nearly didn’t make it due to cracks in her boiler throat plate a week before the gala, in fact at one point it was looking like she’d be withdrawn early for her 10 yearly, but thanks to a number of people from various different places including a welder who came all the way from the South Devon Railway she made it in time.

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the ‘2884’ class was a development of the successful 28xx class, the first locomotives in Britain with a 2-8-0 wheel configuration. Designed for heavy long distance freight, they could be found all around the GWR system, with a total of 167 built. During the war some of the locos were converted to oil firing as an experiment, but did not prove successful. Owing to the popularity of the engines with western region crews, British Railways very nearly ordered more of the class, but they were denied in favour of the new 9Fs.

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Upon Nationalisation, the ‘2884’ and 28xx classes emerged quite well from the locomotive exchange trials against other locos such as the LMS 8F featured on a previous blog post. As alluded to above it took the appearance of the standard 9F to displace the class, but never the less they survived right up until the end of steam on the Western region, and as such a number were preserved.

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3850 was sent to Barry upon withdrawal like many Western locomotives, and as such was saved in the 1980’s, being restored by the then 3850 locomotive society (who merged with the Dinmore Manor society to form the current group) and Tyesley works. It was restored to steam in 2006 and works regularly at the West Somerset Railway.

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