Last Saturday was the Urie Group’s Open Day at Ropley on the Watercress Line and as I was involved with running workshop tours all weekend, we gave the tours a Urie flavour to fit in with the day. To do this I took myself on a crash course on the society’s two locomotives, both of which are fascinating machines. BR numbers 30499 and 30506 are the only examples of London and South Western Railway’s Chief Mechanical Engineer Robert Urie still surviving, marking them out from other S15 class locomotives in preservation, that were produced by Maunsell.
30506 has run in the past and its overhaul to return it to steam is significantly the more advanced of the two. The hope is that 30506 will return to action by the end of 2017. It’s boiler is being worked on in Ropley’s boiler shop and although it does not have a completion date, it’s estimated to require another 12 months of work. It’s cylinder blocks were on show, as was its new tender top, built on the frame of tender 3208. The tender that can claim to be the newest Urie tender in preservation!
30499, built in 1920, is the oldest surviving steam locomotive built at Eastleigh works. This locomotive has not steamed since BR days and it is hoped that it will be fully restored to enter traffic in 2020, when it will be celebrating its centenary. Intriguingly, it is planned to be returned to “as built” condition in LSWR colours, no smoke deflectors and a stove pipe chimney. This will make it a unique steam locomotive in preservation. As with her sister locomotive, 30499 will need a new tender top.
Interestingly, both locomotive’s have had very advanced “flux core” welding repairs, allowing the front frames to be replaced. This specialised welding was conducted by specialist Paul Stone, who has also done work on Canadian Pacific. This advanced welding repair is not dissimilar to that performed on 60103 Flying Scotsman.
For more information of the society, please check out their website http://www.urieloco.co.uk/
Thanks for reading,