2047 in service
2047 was ordered on 17 April 1926 and delivered to Rugby Portland Cement Co Ltd (RPC) at their New Bilton Works near Rugby on 9 August 1926, where it joined three earlier Manning Wardle 0-6-0ST and one Peckett 0-4-0ST locomotives. 2047's earlies duty was to haul wooden-framed tippler wagons up the steeply graded line from the limestone quarry to the crushing plant, for which it was fitted with wooden dumb buffers (which can be seen in the picture below) in addition to the sprung buffers. At some time before the war RPC began to use dumper trucks due to the increasing depth of the quarry, with the locomotives then being used to shunt coal and chalk (the latter from the Company's Totternhoe Works near Dunstable) from the exchange sidings on the Rugby to Leamington line to the works. 2047 briefly move to RPC's nearby Southam Cement Works during 1943 before returning to Rugby.
In 1948 a Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn 0-6-0ST, 'Number 5', arrived and by 1950 all the other locomotives apart from 2047 had been transferred to Dunstable or had been cut up. In 1954 2047 received a new inner firebox and other major firebox repairs. Around that time a conveyor system was installed to bring the stone out of the quarry and the track in the quarry was lifted.
In 1964 the company installed a pipeline to pump chalk slurry from Dunstable, with the locomotives after that time only needed for moving coal from the exchange sidings. Also in 1964 a vertical boilered Sentinel, no 9559 of 1953[note 2] arrived from Dunstable to replace Number 5 which was unserviceable. In 1966 Number 5 was cut up for scrap. The same year the company decided that a diesel locomotive would be more economical as only three to four hours of work per day were needed for this task. Although 2047 was withdrawn from use in December 1966, it remained on the 'active list' until May 1967 when it was offered for sale at the modest price of £150, the company being keen to see the locomotive preserved.
2047 in preservation
Following withdrawal, RPC offered the locomotive to the Warwickshire Railway Society. A number of their members formed a separate group, the Warwickshire Industrial Loco Preservation Group (WILPG) and raised the necessary funds through an issue of 30 shares at £10 each to pay the purchase cost of £150 for the locomotive and a further £150 for transport (£55) and spares.[note 3] After an inspection was carried out in July 1967, 2047 was purchased and arrived on the Severn Valley Railway on 22 October 1967.
First boiler ticket
After arrival the locomotive was stripped and the boiler hydraulically tested. The dumb buffers were removed during this time. A number of missing parts were replaced, including the sanding gear which was obtained by permission of Birmingham City Council from sister locomotive 2015,[note 4] then on static display in a children's playground near Duddesdon. After repairs and reassembly, 2047 was first steamed on 21 December 1968.
The owning group had originally intended to paint 2047 in maroon livery, but instead it was initially finished in an unlined pale blue livery to avoid a clash with the ICI red livery of 686 The Lady Armaghdale which the group were in the course of acquiring. Black and white lining and "Warwickshire" name plates were later applied in time for a naming ceremony due to have taken place in 1970 and been carried out by the SVRSevern Valley Railway's operating superintendent Bill Gillett. Unfortunately an accident on BRBritish Rail or British Railways meant that he was unable to carry out this duty and the re-arranged naming ceremony was eventually carried out on 3 April 1971 by Mr H A Vigar, the former manager of RPC's New Bilton Works.
During the late 1960s and early 1970s, 2047 and the other small industrial locos 686 and Peckett 1738 were used for general shunting duties and on works trains as well as providing an attraction for visitors. In August 1974, 2047 attended the Town and Country Fair at Stoneleigh. For the occasion the locomotive was repainted in a 'Caledonian Railway' lined blue livery and, with the consent of the Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire, the Warwickshire Crest (the ragged bear and staff) was hand painted on the cab sides. The locomotive was confined to a short demonstration track only 40 feet in length, but managed to accumulate 8½ miles in the course of giving 2,500 footplate rides. The locomotive was originally delivered to the SVRSevern Valley Railway facing south but returned to the SVRSevern Valley Railway facing north, the only occasion on which it has changed direction to date.
Second boiler ticket and boiler failure
2047 was the only 'non-passenger' steam locomotive to see use in 1974. Apart from the trip to Stoneleigh it was used regularly throughout the year on shunting duties at Bridgnorth, reaching Highley on at least two occasions and even shunting at Alveley Sidings. However in 1975 it was withdrawn after the Easter weekend for the boiler to be retubed. It spent the rest of the year in storage before work could begin.
2047 returned to service in 1977, being mainly used on works trains at Arley. However in December of that year a leaking fusible plug was discovered and the locomotive was again withdrawn. Although this would normally be expected to be a simple fix, a series of delays followed, mainly due to the lack of available boilersmith resources and the relative low priority of a locomotive not used on passenger services. By 1983 only a brief examination had been carried out which determined that the failed plug was not a BRBritish Rail or British Railways standard size. A more detailed inspection in 1984 determined that the inner firebox fitted in 1954 had become very thin and would require considerable work; also the smokebox, smokebox door and ashpan would need to be replaced and the boiler retubed again.
By 1988 the work had still not been carried out, and work on other boilers was being delayed while the new Bridgnorth boiler shop was built. The WILPG therefore sent the boiler from 2047 Warwickshire to Pridhams for overhaul. By August 1989, a report had been received confirming that the thickness of the boiler plate was below the acceptable level for further use and that repairs would not be economical. In addition, the use of the lap joints (see below) would potentially make the boiler uninsurable even if it was repaired.
The firebox was removed from the boiler in order to determine if a repair would even be possible. At the same time the WILPG sought quotes for the cost of a new boiler (£40,000+ at that time), and also undertook a search for a second-hand boiler which could be tailored to fit the locomotive. The option of repair was quickly ruled out and the search for a suitable second-hand boiler proved unsuccessful.
In June 1992 it was agreed to return the boiler so that 2047 could be cosmetically restored and placed on static display at Kidderminster Railway Museum. After discussions between the WILPG and the SVRSevern Valley Railway as to which party was responsible for the cost of the new boiler, the WILPG agreed to undertake the work. In November 1993 the WILPG formed the Warwickshire Industrial Locomotive Trust (WILT) to raise funds for building the new boiler.
Prior to going on display, the WILPG had intended to repaint 2047 in the 'Caledonian Blue' livery that it still carried. However their other locomotive 686 The Lady Armaghdale had recently adopted the blue 'Thomas' livery, so for a second time the Group opted for a livery change for 2047 to avoid a clash. The cosmetic overhaul was completed in June 1995 with 2047 reverting to the original RPC green livery with red, black and yellow lining. After a period on display at Hampton Loade, 2047 was put on display outside Kidderminster Railway Museum on 15 February 1997. Although not capable of being steamed, it would masquerade as 'Percy' from time to time during 'Thomas the Tank Engine' weekends.
Mileage recorded during the first and second boiler tickets as report in SVRSevern Valley Railway News was as follows:
Note: The locomotive was first steamed in December 1968 as recorded in David Cooke's photograph above. It then worked in ever year until withdrawal in 1975. However none of the cumulative mileage tables in SVRSevern Valley Railway News show any mileage before 1971.
The long-awaited overhaul of 2047 began in with a move to Bridgnorth in November 2010. In 2013 quotations between £61,390 and £101,433 were obtained for the new boiler with an estimate of overhaul cost from the SVRSevern Valley Railway of £184,306. The overhaul progressed at Bridgnorth Loco Works, with re-wheeling taking place in December 2018.
A number of smaller components were moved to Bewdley and on 25 November 2018 the original boiler, smokebox and saddle tank were moved there on Loriot N 42343. On 28 March 2019 the locomotive chassis was moved by BR Class 33 33108 from Bridgnorth to Bewdley Down Yard for restoration to continue. 2047 was shunted under cover on 30 March 2021, talking the place formerly occupied by GWR Large Prairie 4150.
An order for the new boiler was placed with Israel Newton in March 2023, for delivery in 2025.
Pictures of the latest progress can be seen on the Warwickshire Industrial Locomotive Preservation Trust web site 2047 restoration page and the Warwickshire Industrial Locomotive Trust Group Facebook page.
Boiler lap joints
The simplified diagram shows the cross section of boilers constructed using a lap joint (left) and butt joint (right). In the former, the metal sheet forming the boiler barrel is rolled beyond a circle and the overlapping edges are secured with two rows of rivets. In the latter, the two edges of the boiler barrel are butted together and outer and inner plates are used to reinforce the join. In the 1989 report, the practice of using lap joints was described as having been "proved many years ago to be defective and dangerous and whilst not prohibited in existing boilers, was made subject to very stringent and highly expensive testing procedures".
The first photograph shows 2047’s old boiler at Bridgnorth in 2016. The ‘haycock’ firebox, so called because of the unusual height, is on the left with the boiler barrel on the right. The lap joint in the latter is secured by the two rows of rivets to the right. The other photographs show part of a boiler barrel (stood on end) constructed using a butt joint, with the smaller outer plate secured by four rows of rivets and the larger inner plate by a further two rows of rivets.
- Steam Locomotives
- Warwickshire Industrial Locomotive Preservation Trust
- SVR-based locomotives visiting other events
- Rolling stock currently under restoration
- Heritage Railway Magazine 17 September 2017 describes it as an N Class.
- Sentinel 9559 is now preserved at the Tanfield Railway
- David Cooke states that the WILPG began with 30 Members. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 13 suggested there were 25 members involved; it is not clear if this was an error in SVRSevern Valley Railway News or whether some members purchased more than one share.
- Manning Wardle 2015 is now preserved at the Nottingham Transport Heritage Centre
- Shaw (1998) p. 45.
- Shaw (1998) pp. 47-50.
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 13
- 'WILPG' page, David Cooke's website
- Shaw (1998) p. 51.
- Williams (1974) p. 6.
- Shaw (1998) p. 52-53.
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 18, 26
- Shaw (1998) p. 54.
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 38-39
- Shaw (1998) p. 55.
- Shaw (1998) p. 56.
- Shaw (1998) p. 56.
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 38, p.22
- 'WILT' page, David Cooke's website (retrieved 17 February 2018)
- WILT Restoration page
- Warwickshire Industrial Locomotive Preservation Trust (Retrieved 29 March 2023)
- JA Rees, SVRSevern Valley Railway Chief Engineer, cited in Shaw (1998) p. 56-57.