BR Riddles 4MT 75069
75069 is a BR Standard 4MT 4-6-0 locomotive designed by R.A. Riddles. The Standard 4MT was designed for mixed traffic use on secondary routes where the BR Standard Class 5 and its predecessor, the ‘Black Five’, would be too heavy.
75069 in service
75069 was one of the final batch allocated to the BR Southern Region, which were built with a larger tender giving greater coal and water capacity but with the same route restrictions as the Standard Class 5.
75069 was built in 1955 at BR’s Swindon works and entered traffic at Dover. After just 11 years in service around London and the South Coast, the locomotive was withdrawn from service at Eastleigh in September 1966.
Being a Southern engine 75069 is paired with a BR1B tender. This weighs approximately 49 tons (49.94 t), carrying 4,250 gallons of water and approximately 7 tons of coal.
75069 in preservation
75069 arrived on the SVR from Barry Scrapyard on 31 March 1973. Fund raising was helped by a raffle organised by the SVRA Birmingham Branch in 1973, and a further raffle to help fund the restoration and boiler re-tube in 1978. In 1983 another raffle organised by the SVRA Birmingham Branch was held to raise funds for superheater elements. The restoration which lasted more than 11 years was completed just in time for the locomotive, still in undercoat, to take part in the September 1984 Enthusiasts’ Weekend.
In addition to service on the SVR during the following 10 years, 75069 also made a number of appearances on the main line. In 1987 the locomotive was due to work a full Cardigan Bay Express season along with 7819 Hinton Manor, but was unable to complete this due to a crack in the back left hand flange of the firebox. 'Mickey Mouse' 46443 was sent to Machynlleth to deputise and proved a worthy replacement. The firebox was repaired by the insertion of a new copper lap and a re-studded seam; however subsequent investigation of the boiler led to 75069 missing the 1988 season while the flue tubes were replaced.
75069 resumed service in 1989 and also returned to main line duties in 1991. The last main line tour was a one-way working from Kidderminster to Minehead in April 1994, following which 75069 spent the season on hire to the West Somerset Railway. During the visit, the boiler incurred some failures to tubes and elements and following a return by road, cracks were found in the back firebox flange, resulting in the locomotive being withdrawn from service.
A full list of 75069’s main line appearances between 1984 and 1994 is as follows:
|Date||Tour name||Route||Notes||Web||SVR News|
|02 Mar 1985||Red Dragon||Newport - Swindon - Gloucester||75069 first main line run||76-30|
|27 Jul 1985||Red Dragon||Newport - Worcester Shrub Hill||D/H with 92220, after attending Newport open day||SBJ||77-10|
|27 Aug 1985||GW150 Celebrations Excursions||Swindon - Gloucester - Swindon||Shared duties with Clun Castle||SBJ||77-16|
|01 Sep 1985||GW150 Celebrations Excursions||Swindon - Gloucester - Swindon||Shared duties with Clun Castle||SBJ||77-16|
|22 Mar 1986||South Yorkshireman||Tyseley (LE) - Saltley - Marylebone||Took over from 777 Sir Lamiel||SBJ||79-6|
|12 Apr 1986||William Shakespeare||London Marylebone - High Wycombe - Banbury - Stratford||SBJ||80-14|
|31 May 1986||Red Dragon||Hereford - Newport - Swindon||D/H with 5690 (SBJ incorrectly shows as 31 March)||SBJ||79-20|
|28 Jun 1986||Swindon-Newport-Herfeford||D/H with 5690||81-40|
|28 May 1987||Cardigan Bay Express||Machynlleth - Barmouth + return x2||85-33|
|29 May 1987||Cardigan Bay Express||Machynlleth - Barmouth + return x2||85-33|
|12 Sep 1987||John Player Special||Nottingham - Tyseley||Tour continued to London with Clan Line||86-11|
|13 Sep 1987||Derby - Matlock x2||87-2|
|16 Jun 1991||Cambrian Limited||Barmouth - Shrewsbury||(7819 worked the outward leg)||SBJ||100-38|
|23 Jun 1991||Cambrian Limited||Barmouth - Shrewsbury||(7819 worked the outward leg)||SBJ||100-38|
|19 Oct 1991||Cam 85 Special||Crewe - Hereford - Kidderminster||W.A. 'Cam' Camwell Birthday special||SBJ||106-50|
|07 Jun 1992||Ashford 150 Festival||Ashford - Hastings - Ashford||SBJ||103-19|
|28 Jun 1992||Devon Belle||Exeter Central - Salisbury||SBJ||103-19|
|28 Dec 1993||Christmas Steam Special||London Victoria - Brighton - London Victoria||SBJ|
|27 Apr 1994||Exmoor Explorer||Kidderminster-Minehead||111-41|
|For further information on sources and references, see The Severn Valley Railway on the main line|
After a lengthy period in storage, hopes of a return to service were raised in early 2009 when work was carried out to assess the condition of the boiler. However this assessment revealed that significant work would be required and 1501, seen as a potential quick turnaround, was selected for overhaul instead. 75069’s Heavy General repair finally began in early 2013: the boiler barrel and much of the firebox was entirely new and many of the fittings and almost all of the pipework were replaced. A new cab, new smokebox and chimney, replacement steelwork in the tender coal space and new drag box were among other major repairs. Work cost over £900,000 and involved more than 25,000 man hours of effort. Although initially advertised as returning to traffic prior to both the 2017 and 2018 Autumn Steam Galas, the locomotive's first test runs started 11 December 2018 with her boiler exam two days later. She returned to traffic 16 February 2019 at the start of the season's services.
In the early morning of 22 July 2019, 75069 collided with a fallen tree between Hampton Loade and Country Park Halt while running light engine from Bridgnorth to work a service train from Kidderminster. The locomotive’s bogie was derailed and although the bogie axles were found not to have been bent, a number of front end fittings were damaged including the guard irons, steam heat and vacuum pipes, and a cylinder drain cock casting and drain pipe. After repairs, the locomotive resumed service on Friday 6 September.
The locomotive is owned by The 75069 Fund.
- BRDatabase Retrieved 29 January 2015.
- SVR News 30
- SVR News 47
- SVR News 66, 67
- SVR News 74
- SVR News 85
- SVR News 86
- SVR News 87-91
- SVR News 110/112
- SVR News 168
- SVR News 169
- SVR News 180
- Express Points, January 2019
- BBC News 15 February 2019 (Retrieved 16 February 2019)
- The Railway Magazine, January 2019, p.66
- Steam Railway Magazine Issue 496, p 13, Severn Valley '4MT' derailed after hitting tree, statement attributed to ESMP Manager Neil Taylor.