SR 34027 Taw Valley
|SRSouthern Railway 34027 Taw Valley|
34027 Taw Valley as 21C127 at Bridgnorth, April 2023
|Built By||SRSouthern Railway Brighton Works|
|BRBritish Rail or British Railways rating||7P6F|
|Designed By||Oliver BulleidOliver Vaughan Snell Bulleid, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the Southern Railway 1937-1948|
|Type||SRSouthern Railway West Country Class|
|1964||Withdrawn by BRBritish Rail or British Railways|
|1985||Arrived on SVRSevern Valley Railway|
|1998||Entered service on SVRSevern Valley Railway|
|Tractive effort||27,720 lb|
|Pressure||250 lb/sq in|
34027 Taw Valley is a SRSouthern Railway West Country Class 4-6-2 'PacificLocomotive with a 4-6-2 wheel configuration' designed by Oliver (O.V.S.) BulleidOliver Vaughan Snell Bulleid, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the Southern Railway 1937-1948, CMEChief Mechanical Engineer of the Southern Railway (SRSouthern Railway). Lighter in weight than their sister locomotives, the Merchant Navy class, they could be used on a wide variety of routes including in the south-west of England and the Kent coast. They were a mixed-traffic design, being used for both passenger and freight trains, and were latterly rated 7P6F by British Railways.
A total of 110 were produced, with the first 70 built by the SRSouthern Railway between May 1945 and November 1947, and the final 40 built by BRBritish Rail or British Railways between 1948 and 1951. 66 (the "West Country Class") were named after places in the West Country served by SRSouthern Railway trains or close to its lines, and 44 (the "Battle of Britain Class") were named after RAF squadrons, airfields, commanders and aircraft that had participated in the Battle of Britain.
Originally built with innovative features including air-smoothed casings and chainAs a unit of measurement, 22 yards or 1/80th of a mile-driven valve gear, many of the locomotives including 34027 were rebuilt by British Railways in the late 1950s. Of the 20 preserved examples, 10 are rebuilt (7 WC and 3 BoB) and 10 are still in original 'unrebuilt' condition (4 WC and 6 BoB). Rebuilt BoB class 34053 Sir Keith Park was resident on the SVRSevern Valley Railway between 2012 and 2017. The five examples which have visited the SVR for galas are all 'unrebuilt'; WC Class 34007 Wadebridge, 34092 City of Wells and BoB class 34072 257 Squadron, 34070 Manston, and 34081 92 Squadron.
34027 Taw Valley in service
Taw Valley was built at the SRSouthern Railway’s Brighton Works and named after a river in Devon. The locomotive entered service in April 1946 as SRSouthern Railway number 21C127. It was originally allocated to Ramsgate where it worked London to Kent expresses. In 1947 Taw Valley moved to Exmouth Junction, working mainly in Devon and Cornwall. Here the locomotive would have hauled named trains such as the ‘AtlanticLocomotive with a 4-4-0 wheel configuration Coast Express’ and ‘Devon Belle’. Taw Valley was re-numbered 34027 by BRBritish Rail or British Railways in April 1948 as part of the re-numbering programme following nationalisation.
In September 1957 Taw Valley became the second member of the class to be rebuilt at BRBritish Rail or British Railways's works at Eastleigh to a more conventional design set out by Ron Jarvis,[note 1] who had already been responsible for similar rebuilds to the Merchant Navy class. Following this rebuild the locomotive was allocated to the Bricklayers Arms depot in south-east London, working services to Kent. After the lines were electrified, 34027 moved to Brighton in May 1961 to work commuter services from there. Following transfer to Salisbury in September 1963, Taw Valley was withdrawn from service by BRBritish Rail or British Railways in August 1964 and towed to Barry Scrapyard, arriving there in December 1964.
34027 Taw Valley in preservation
Taw Valley became the 112th locomotive to leave BarryWoodham Brothers Scrapyard, Barry, South Wales. The source of many locomotives now in preservation. when departing in April 1980. The locomotive was initially privately purchased for use on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, but moved to the East Lancashire Railway at Bury in November 1982 where restoration began in earnest.[note 2] In August of 1985 the SVRSevern Valley Railway announced that agreement had been reached with then owner Bert Hitchen for the locomotive to move to the SVRSevern Valley Railway where restoration to main line standard would be completed by the SVRSevern Valley Railway as a contract job. It was then anticipated that the locomotive would become resident while working both on the SVRSevern Valley Railway and on the main line.
The tender that is coupled to Taw Valley is an amalgam of new and old. The tank was constructed at Shipyard Services, Brightlingsea and was transported to Riley & Son in Bury where a new underframe was fabricated. This was fitted with wheels, axleboxes and springs from an ex-LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway tender chassis and so lacks, among other things, the distinctive BulleidOliver Vaughan Snell Bulleid, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the Southern Railway 1937-1948 Firth Brown wheels of the class. It is fitted with Southern-style axle box covers. The completed tender was delivered in December 1983 to the ELREngineer's Line Reference, East Lancashire Railway which was the then base for Taw Valley.
First boiler ticket
The locomotive arrived by road at Bridgnorth on 18 August 1985, becoming the SVRSevern Valley Railway's first Southern Region pacific (an earlier attempt to acquire classmate 34016 Bodmin for the railway having been thwarted). At the time the tender was complete, everything above the frame level having been newly built, while the boiler was at the re-tubing stage. Part of the restoration involved forging and machining new connecting rods, the originals having long since vanished. A steam test was successfully completed in April 1987, and restoration was completed in October 1987 when trial running began; the locomotive also worked several trains with fare paying passengers on board. Final painting began in February 1988, and the locomotive entered service in June 1988 with a formal re-naming ceremony taking place on 4 June. 34027 then worked every weekend until the winter season to allow as many of the footplate staff as possible to experience the new locomotive; highlights included lifting 16 coaches out of Bridgnorth with no difficulty during the Autumn Steam Gala. In spring 1981 34027 was examined by BRBritish Rail or British Railways inspectors and declared mechanically fit for main line working apart from the tender wheels which were deemed to be below scrapping size.
Following a loaded test run from Derby to Sheffield and back on 12 May 1989, Taw Valley was then rostered for a summer season of excursions on the 'North Wales Coast Express' between Crewe and Holyhead. During a press run from Crewe on 20 June, the locomotive suffered a slightly bent radius rod. After this was disconnected the locomotive completed the journey at a modest 50 mph. Repairs were completed within a week and the locomotive went on to produce a series of excellent performances Taw Valley returned in time for the September Autumn Steam Gala but was then requested at short notice by BRBritish Rail or British Railways to run the Marylebone steam programme from early November until the end of March 1990.
Taw Valley returned in time to take part in the April 1990 Spring Steam Gala. Sunday 13 May saw the normal summertime Table C timetable in use, requiring 5 steam locomotives. Only later was it pointed out that the SVRSevern Valley Railway had unknowingly achieved a ‘full house’ by rostering GWR 4566, SRSouthern Railway 34027 Taw Valley, LMS 46443, LNER 3442 The Great Marquess and BR Standard 75069 on the same day. Another summer season of 'North Wales Coast Express followed. On return, a weep was found on one of the thermic syphons which was repaired in time for the Autumn Steam Gala. The locomotive also worked the 1990 Santa Services, although managing to run out of coal on the first weekend.
Taw Valley set off for a season on the Welsh Marches Express in February 1991. In summer of that year SVRSevern Valley Railway News announced that Taw Valley was unlikely to return to the SVRSevern Valley Railway after its current commitments, and in winter 1991 the locomotive had moved to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. A brief return to the SVRSevern Valley Railway took place between July and early September 1992, following which the locomotive again left the Railway. Taw Valley's last main line working was in March 1994, and by 1995 the locomotive was undergoing a full overhaul at the NYMR.
Mileage as reported in SVRSevern Valley Railway News was as follows:
Note: The 1991 and 1992 mileage figures appear not to include main line working. Mileage post-1992 was not published in SVRSevern Valley Railway News.
Second boiler ticket
Following overhaul, Taw Valley underwent a test run on the main line in late 1996, during which the middle cylinder liner suffered damage. Repairs required the removal of the old liner, re-boring of the cylinder block, and installing and re-boring a new liner. The new cylinder liner was machined at the SVRSevern Valley Railway as a contract job during 1998. By 2000, Taw Valley was again working on the main line, notably appearing around the country that year in maroon livery as 'Hogwarts Express' to publicise the Harry Potter books which were then being published.
Taw Valley arrived back on the SVRSevern Valley Railway on 11 April 2001 having been put up for sale by Bert Hitchen and acquired by long-standing SVRSevern Valley Railway benefactor Phil Swallow with colleagues Nigel Barnes and Mark Younger via Taw Valley Limited. The locomotive soon became a regular on SVRSevern Valley Railway services and took part in the 2001 Autumn Steam Gala, still in 'Hogwarts Express' livery. Taw Valley returned briefly to the main line, working main line tours either side of Christmas.
In March 2002 Taw Valley appeared at the Spring Steam Gala running as 34045 Ottery St. Mary. The locomotive then spent nearly two months during the summer in the boiler shop in a semi stripped-down state with the cab removed to enable two thirds of the boiler stays to be replaced. Despite a major effort, the Locomotive Department were just unable to complete the work in time for the Autumn Steam Gala..
Main line running with periodic returns to the SVRSevern Valley Railway continued until May 2005. This included a number of rail tours in which the locomotive ran as sister locomotive 34045 Ottery St Mary. In March 2004 Taw Valley made a 2-week visit to the West Somerset Railway during which during which it was successively renumbered and re-named 34022 Exmoor and 34046 Braunton. The locomotive also appeared in the Autumn Steam Gala of 2005 as 34036 Westward Ho, the last gala appearance before going out of ticket..
Mileage as reported in SVRSevern Valley Railway News was as follows:
Mileage pre-2001 and post 2004 was not published in SVRSevern Valley Railway News.
Main line appearances
As noted above, Taw Valley spent considerable periods of time on the main line during both her first and second boiler tickets. The table below has been compiled from various sources including Six Bells Junction, UK Steam and SVRSevern Valley Railway News. However it may not be complete.
|Date||Tour name||Route||Notes||Web||SVRSevern Valley Railway News|
|12 May 1989||Derby - Sheffield + return||Loaded test run||93-19|
|02 Jul 1989||Crewe - Llandudno - Holyhead + return||First run||93-19|
|04 Jul 1989||North Wales Coast Express||Crewe - Llandudno - Holyhead + return||Various North Wales Coast Expresses around this time||SBJ|
|16 Aug 1989||North Wales Coast Express||Crewe - Llandudno - Holyhead + return||Returned to SVRSevern Valley Railway for ASG 23 September||94-41|
|13 Aug 1989||North Wales Coast Express||Crewe - Llandudno - Holyhead + return||Returned to SVRSevern Valley Railway for ASG 23 September||SBJ|
|11 Nov 1989||Robin Hood||Derby - London Marylebone||Low water at Banbury, fire dropped, later relit and continued.||SBJ||94-13|
|02 Dec 1989||William Shakespeare||Marylebone - Stratford + return||SBJ||95-36|
|30 Dec 1989||The Thames-Avon||Marylebone - Stratford + return||SBJ||95-37|
|20 Jan 1990||Robin Hood||Marylebone - Nottingham + return||Due to return from Marylebone 31 March (95-8)||SBJ|
|31 Mar 1990||?-Kings Sutton-Hatton-Nottingham-Lenton Jn-?||Included on PSOV DVD 'Taw Valley 1990-1994'|
|16 Jul 1990||North Wales Coast Expres||Crewe - Holyhead - Crewe||"Successful season.." 97-23, winter at Holyhead 98-15||SBJ|
|01 Aug 1990||North Wales Coast Expres||98-9|
|08 Aug 1990||North Wales Coast Express||Locoperf|
|26 Aug 1990||North Wales Coast Express||97-52|
|09 Feb 1991||Welsh Marches Express||Crewe - Hereford||SBJ|
|16 Feb 1991||Welsh Marches Express?||?-Abergele-Llandulas-Llandudno Jn-?||PSOV DVD|
|23 Feb 1991||Welsh Marches Express||Crewe - Shrewsbury - Hereford||SBJ|
|6 Sep 1991||?-Hasland-Pear Tree-Small Heath||PSOV DVD|
|12 Sep 1991||Shepway Festival||Folkestone Harbour - Folkestone Train Roads (multiple)||SBJ|
|13 Sep 1991||Shepway Festival||Folkestone Harbour - Folkestone Train Roads (multiple)||SBJ|
|19 Oct 1991||Fen Line Steam Weekend||Kings Lynn - Ely - Cambridge + return||SBJ|
|30 Nov 1991||Welsh Marches Express||Hereford - Shrewsbury - Chester - Crewe||SBJ|
|14 Dec 1991||Cumbrian Mountain Express||Lostock Hall Jn - S&C - Carlisle||SBJ|
|28 Dec 1991||?-Horton-Selside-Ais Gill-?||PSOV DVD|
|08 Feb 1992||Cumbrian Mountain Express||Carlisle - S&C - Farington Jn||SBJ|
|25 Apr 1992||?-Condover-Marshbrook-Onibury-?||PSOV DVD|
|06 Jun 1992||Ashford 150 Festival Specials||Ashford - Appledore - Rye - Hastings + return (multiple)||SBJ|
|10 Jun 1992||?-Romney-Salisbury-?||PSOV DVD. D/H with 75069|
|18 Oct 1992||South Western Limited||?-Crewkerne Bank-?||PSOV DVD||SBJ|
|10 Apr 1993||Salisbury-Yeovil-Salisbury||PSOV DVD|
|29 Aug 1993||Didcot-Bristol||PSOV DVD||[http://www.sixbellsjunction.co.uk/90s/930829fs.htm SBJ)|
|5 Sep 1993||Rougemont Limited||Exeter-Waterloo||PSOV DVD||SBJ|
|12 Sep 1993||Salisbury-Waterloo||SBJ|
|9 Sep 1993||Exeter?-Waterloo||PSOV DVD|
|26 Sep 1993||Eastleigh-Yeovil-Waterloo||PSOV DVD. D/H with S15 828||SBJ|
|19 Feb 1994||South Western Swansong||London Waterloo - Yeovil Junction + return||SBJ|
|23 Feb 1994||Yorkshireman||Banbury-Sheffield||Locoperf|
|26 Feb 1994||Cumbrian Mountain Limited||Bradford-Carlisle||PSOV DVD||SBJ|
|5 Mar 1994||Carlisle-Bradford||PSOV DVD. Last run before overhaul.|
|04 Mar 2000||Shap Attack||Crewe - Shap - Carlisle||SBJ|
|08 Apr 2000||Cumbrian Mountain Express||Carlisle - Shap - Crewe||UKS|
|08 Jul 2000||Hogwarts Express Promotion Train||Kings Cross-Didcot-Kidderminster-Crewe||UKS|
|09 Jul 2000||Hogwarts Express Promotion Train||Crewe-Manchester-Bradford-York||UKS|
|10 Jul 2000||Hogwarts Express Promotion Train||York-Newcastle-Edinburgh||UKS|
|11 Jul 2000||Hogwarts Express Promotion Train||Edinburgh-Calisle-Preston||UKS|
|07 Oct 2000||Southern Scot||Crewe - Glasgow Central||SBJ|
|14 Oct 2000||Cumbrian Taw-Tourer||Workington - Barrow - Crewe||As "Hogwarts Express"||SBJ|
|22 Dec 2001||Christmas Chester Chuffer||Birmingham Int'l - Crewe - Chester - Shrewsbury - Bham Int'l||SBJ||139-13|
|29 Dec 2001||Cannon of Kent||Finsbury Park - Orpington. Cannon St. - Margate - Finsbury Park||Stalled leaving London||SBJ||139-13|
|12 Oct 2002||Parisian Steam Express||Victoria - Dover||As 34045 "Ottery St. Mary".||UKS|
|13 Oct 2002||Parisian Steam Express||Dover - Victoria||As 34045 "Ottery St. Mary".||UKS|
|26 Jul 2003||Victoria-Oxford-Worcester-Oxford-Victoria||UKS|
|27 Jul 2003||V.S.O.E. Bournemouth Belle||London Victoria - Salisbury. Bournemouth - Southampton||As 34045 "Ottery St. Mary". Stalled leaving London||SBJ|
|22 Aug 2003||Surrey Hills Luncheon||Victoria-Guildford-Victoria||As 34045 "Ottery St. Mary".||UKS|
|06 Dec 2003||Lincolnshire Poacher||Preston-Doncaster, Doncaster-Manchester Vic||UKS|
|01 Sep 2004||Sunny South Special||Kensington Olympia - Weymouth - Clapham Junction||SBJ|
|05 Sep 2004||Cathedrals Express||Waterloo-Salisbury-Exeter and Yevil Jc-Waterloo||UKS|
|06 Nov 2004||Victoria - Salisbury + return(?)||As 34045 "Ottery St. Mary".||SBJ|
|19 Nov 2004||Victoria - Woking - Guildford - Victoria||SBJ|
|06 Dec 2004||Surrey Hills Xmas Luncheon||Victoria - Woking - Guildford - Victoria||SBJ|
|10 Dec 2004||Victoria - Woking - Guildford - Victoria||SBJ|
|02 Mar 2005||Victoria - Bath Spa + return||SBJ|
|11 Mar 2005||Victoria - Woking - Guildford - Victoria||SBJ|
|27 Mar 2005||Cathedrals Express||Victoria - Canterbury + return||SBJ|
|02 Apr 2005||Victoria - Oxford + return||SBJ|
|14 Apr 2005||Downsman||Victoria - Woking - Guildford - Victoria||As 34045 "Ottery St. Mary".||SBJ|
|20 Apr 2005||Cathedrals Express||Victoria - Bristol + return||As 34045 "Ottery St. Mary".||SBJ|
|11 May 2005||Cathedrals Express||Waterloo - Littlehampton, Portsmouth Harbour - Waterloo||SBJ|
|For further information on sources and references, see The Severn Valley Railway on the main line|
Present boiler ticket
Taw Valley’s heavy overhaul had begun by the spring of 2006, with the locomotive being fully stripped down within eight weeks.. The overhaul required a new left-hand cylinder to be cast. Work on the boiler at Pridham's in Devon involved building an almost complete inner firebox and replacing most of the outer box. The overhaul continued to make steady progress and was eventually completed in time for Taw Valley to re-enter service on 16 May 2015, hauling an incoming "British Pullman" rail tour consisting of 12 coaches and a Class 67 diesel from Bewdley to Bridgnorth, and an SVRSevern Valley Railway service from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster. Taw Valley is the only SVRSevern Valley Railway steam locomotive, apart from 600 Gordon, equipped to work with air braked rolling stock. However the locomotive is no longer registered to work on the main line (the owner sold support coach 35479 in 2015 around the time the locomotive re-entered service). It began to appear at other railways only from 2023.
In February 2022 the SVRSevern Valley Railway announced that later in the year Taw Valley would temporarily appear in a brand-new purple livery and carry a different name, to be selected by public vote, to commemorate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. After repainting, the locomotive first appeared as a static exhibit at the Spring Steam Gala as No 70 'Elizabeth II', although without name plates.
No 70 then featured in the four-day special event between 2-5 June held to mark the Queen's platinum Jubilee, taking part in a naming ceremony at Kidderminster on the first day. On Saturday 23 July 2022 the SVRSevern Valley Railway hosted a leg of the Queen's Baton Relay as part of the final build-up to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. The baton travelled from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth aboard a special train piloted by 'Elizabeth II', double headed with visiting Class 20 20142 owing to fire risk resulting from the exceptionally hot weather at the time.
Following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 8 September 2022, the locomotive initially carried black flags and a black name plate as a mark of respect, and subsequently continued to carry the lined purple livery but revering to its own name and number.
In 2023 the locomotive was temporarily repainted into an inauthentic SRSouthern Railway wartime black livery as 21C127, to be followed by a valve and piston exam and intermediate overhaul planned to start in the autumn. This will include necessary boiler work to secure a new '10-year' boiler certificate.
- Jarvis succeeded Oliver BulleidOliver Vaughan Snell Bulleid, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the Southern Railway 1937-1948 as manager of the Brighton Works on the Southern Region of the newly nationalised British Railways.
- The BarryWoodham Brothers Scrapyard, Barry, South Wales. The source of many locomotives now in preservation. List also refers to a move to Hull after the NYMR.
- Steam Locomotives
- The Severn Valley Railway on the main line
- SVR-based locomotives visiting other events
- Locomotives running under different identities
Service history from fleetsteam.co.uk
- SVRSevern Valley Railway Stock Book Eight Edition
- Beckett & Hardingham (2010) pp. 66, 85.
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 77, 78
- Swallow, Phil., SVR forum 'Taw Valley model' thread, 11 February 2007 (Retrieved 15 October 2021)
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 83, 84
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 88, 89
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 90, 91
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 93, 94
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 96, 97, 98
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 99
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 101
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 103
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 115
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 121
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 127
- Companies House page (retrieved 12 November 2017)
- 'Branch Lines', July 2020 (Retrieved 16 July 2020)
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 136, 137, 138
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 140, 141
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 147
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 152
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 153
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 155, 160
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 165
- I. Walker, "Steam Locomotive Notes", SVRSevern Valley Railway News 190 (2015) p. 28
- SVR Website (retrieved 18 February 2022)
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 220
- SR West Country and Battle of Britain class locomotives on Wikipedia
- Oliver Bulleid on Wikipedia
- Ron Jarvis on Wikipedia