SR 34053 Sir Keith Park
|SR 34053 Sir Keith Park|
34053 at Highley in 2016
|Built By||SR Brighton Works|
|Status||Left the SVR|
|Other Numbers||SR 21C153|
|Designed By||Oliver Bulleid|
|Type||SR Battle Of Britain Class|
|1966||Withdrawn by BR|
|2012||Entered service on SVR|
|2018||Moved to Swanage Railway|
|Tractive effort||27,720 lb|
|Pressure||250 lb/sq in|
The SR 'West Country' and 'Battle of Britain' classes were designed by Oliver Bulleid, the CME of the Southern Railway (SR). Lighter than their sister locomotives, the Merchant Navy class, they could be used on a wider 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 classified 7P6F by British Railways.
Originally built with innovative features including air-smoothed casings and chain-driven valve gear, many of the locomotives including 34053 were rebuilt by British Railways in the late 1950s.
34053 Sir Keith Park in service
34053 was built in 1946 at the SR’s Brighton Works and entered service as SR no 21C153. It was originally allocated to Salisbury MPD but also worked from the Stewarts Lane depot, where it hauled prestige services such as the Golden Arrow on many occasions. In 1960 it was transferred to Bournemouth, where it often hauled the Pines Express on the Somerset & Dorset Railway.
34053 was withdrawn from service by BR in October 1966 and towed to Woodham's scrapyard at Barry the following March.
34053 in preservation
34053 left Barry in 1984. Evidence of her time spent there can still be seen today in the form of the words "Sold Mr Woodham" which are visible on the lower left slide bar. After various owners and lengthy periods in store, restoration was finally completed by Southern Locomotives Limited (SLL) in May 2012 at a cost of £773,000. Having no need of the locomotive at Swanage, agreement was reached for 34053 to come to the SVR, with the agreement carrying a break clause every two years. The locomotive arrived at Bridgnorth on 10 May and during running-in pulled its first passenger train in 47 years on 31 July by assisting a struggling GWR 5700 Class 3650. It entered service on 24 August.
On 31 August 2013 a recommissioning ceremony was held at Kidderminster attended by three aircrew who served during the Battle of Britain and the New Zealand High Commissioner, Sir Lockwood Smith. The return to Kidderminster saw the New Zealand High Commissioner on the footplate. The ceremony welcome pack can be viewed here.
In August 2017 the SVR announced it had mutually agreed with SLL that the option to renew would not be actioned at the end of 2017, with 34053 moving to the Swanage Railway for the rest of the locomotive's certificate. SKP ran her last SVR services on 2 January before winter maintenance works and her move to Swanage on 10 January 2018..