BR Riddles 4MT 75069

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BR Riddles 4MT 75069
75069 20190514.jpg
BR Standard 4MT 75069
Built By BR Swindon Works
Configuration 4-6-0
BR rating 4MT
Status In service
Loco Number 75069
Built 1955
Designed By Robert Riddles
Type BR Standard 4MT
1973 Arrived on SVR
1984 First steamed in preservation
1994 Withdrawn for overhaul
2018 Return to service
Length 60ft 0"
Weight 67t 18cwt
Tractive effort 25,515 lb
Pressure 225 lb/sq in

Steam Locomotives

75069 at Hastings circa 1992

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. This gives greater coal and water capacity, but restricting the weight and route restrictions to that of the Standard Class 5.

75069 was built in 1955 at BR’s Swindon works and entered traffic at Dover. It was fitted with a double chimney at Eastleigh in 1960, returning to traffic at Stewart's Lane.[1] After just 11 years in service around London and the South Coast, the locomotive was withdrawn from service at Eastleigh in September 1966.[2]

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,[3] and a further raffle to help fund the restoration and boiler re-tube in 1978.[4] In 1983 another raffle organised by the SVRA Birmingham Branch was held to raise funds for superheater elements.[5] 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.[6]

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.[7] '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;[8] however subsequent investigation of the boiler led to 75069 missing the 1988 season while the flue tubes were replaced.[9]

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.[10]

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[11] and 1501, seen as a potential quick turnaround, was selected for overhaul instead.[12] 75069’s Heavy General repair finally began in early 2013[13]: 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.[14][15] 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.[16] 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.[17] After repairs, the locomotive resumed service on Friday 6 September.

At the end of 2019, 75069 had recorded a total of 63,467 miles in preservation on the SVR. The reported total may include mileage on the main line and on hire to other railways.[18] The locomotive is owned by The 75069 Fund.

See also


  1. Heaton, John, 'Oxted Line Steam: 1961', The Railway Magazine, January 2021
  2. BRDatabase Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  3. SVR News 30
  4. SVR News 47
  5. SVR News 66, 67
  6. SVR News 74
  7. SVR News 85
  8. SVR News 86
  9. SVR News 87-91
  10. SVR News 110/112
  11. SVR News 168
  12. SVR News 169
  13. SVR News 180
  14. Express Points, January 2019
  15. BBC News 15 February 2019 (Retrieved 16 February 2019)
  16. The Railway Magazine, January 2019, p.66
  17. Steam Railway Magazine Issue 496, p 13, Severn Valley '4MT' derailed after hitting tree, statement attributed to ESMP Manager Neil Taylor.
  18. SVR News 210, SVR-based Steam Locomotive Mileage 2017-2019, Duncan Ballard