LMS Ivatt Class 2 46521

LMS Ivatt Class 2 46521
46521 20120128.jpg
46521 in January 2012
Built By BR Swindon Works
Configuration 2-6-0
BR rating 2MT
Status Former resident
Loco Number 46521
Built 1953
Designed By George Ivatt
Type Ivatt Class 2
1971 Arrived on SVR
1974 Entered service
1984 Withdrawn for overhaul
1991 Re-entered service
2000 Withdrawn for overhaul
2001 Moved to GCR
Length 53ft 1¾"
Weight 47t 2cwt
Tractive effort 18,510 lb
Pressure 200 lb/sq in

Steam Locomotives

Ivatt 2MT No 46521 is a classmate of the SVR's 46443 and was resident on the SVR between 1971 and 2002.

The LMS Ivatt Class 2 was designed by H.G. (George) Ivatt for work on secondary and branch line duties. Locomotives of this class were often referred to as a "Mickey Mouse". It is a 2-6-0 'Mogul', rated 2MT by BR following nationalisation.



No 46521 was one of the final batch of these locomotives built by BR at the Swindon works in 1953. The Swindon batch incorporated certain modifications over the earlier versions (of which 46443 is a 1950 Crewe-built example), including an increase of ½in cylinder diameter, blast pipe modifications and a taller chimney.

46521 had a working life with BR of just 13 years, based around the Cambrian area where it carried BR Green livery fully lined out in orange and black. Service began at Oswestry on 19 February 1953, followed by a move to Brecon the following month. In October 1959 returned to Oswestry, and in March 1963 was allocated to Machynlleth, before undergoing a heavy overhaul at Crewe between 30 April and 1 June 1963. Following that overhaul, the locomotive was involved a three-day visit to North Wales by the in August 1963, its duties being positioning moves and overnight steam heating of the Royal Train stock. 46521 did not run many more miles before being withdrawn by BR in November 1966 and moved to Barry Scrapyard in March 1967.


Restoration and first boiler ticket

In 1969 46521 was selected for preservation by SVR member Charles Newton. Work started on the external restoration immediately after the purchase was completed on 25 July 1970, including wire brushing and repainting to protect the locomotive from further rust. Much work was also carried out on the axle boxes, with the assistance from the team working on 80079, to ensure that 46521 could be safely moved from Barry to the SVR by rail. The move took place on 20 March 1971 in a special freight hauled by BR Type 4 No 1678.[note 1] On arrival at Bewdley, 46521 was hauled to Bridgnorth by 45110, with goods rolling stock providing separation to ensure compliance with weight restrictions over Victoria Bridge.[1]

The restoration by the owning group continued at Bridgnorth with the locomotive quickly being dismantled. The tyres were in good condition and needed no attention, while much of the metal-work on the engine proved to be in excellent condition under the accumulated grease, oil and grime. The tender's water scoop was removed as being surplus to requirements on a preserved railway. After several attempts at a hydraulic test on the boiler failed, the decision was made that it should be completely re-tubed, after which the hydraulic test was passed on 26 February 1972.[2] A number of cab fittings which had 'disappeared' at Barry were replaced with those saved from 44888, the last locomotive cut up at Cashmores, Great Bridge.[3]

Work continued through 1973, with 46521 becoming the subject of a £5 bet between SVR News Editor David Williams and Publicity Officer David Cooke on whether it would haul a revenue earning passenger service during 1974. Boosted by being chosen as the Locomotive Works 1973 'winter project', "greatly to the astonishment of the owner who had just about despaired of ever receiving assistance", the restoration was completed in time for David Cooke to collect his winnings on 14 July 1974.[4] By doing so, 46521 became the SVR’s first ex-Barry restoration to be completed. 46521 initially carried the same fully lined green livery with BR late crest in which it finished BR service and was chosen to appear on the front cover of SVR News 34 Winter 1974-75 which marked the introduction of colour photographs.[5]

At the start of 1975 both crossheads were removed for remetalling. 46521 returned to service in May and became the first locomotive to work through the newly rebuilt passing loop at Arley with a return 'special'; the following weekend becoming the first to pass another locomotive there while hauling a passenger service, the 11.45 ex Bewdley on 25 May.[5] In August 1975 both 46521 and 46443 were taken out of regular traffic while being painted into red livery and given modified superstructures for filming of The Seven-Per-Cent Solution. Despite these periods out of passenger service, 46521 accumulated 4,510 miles, the greatest mileage of the SVR locos that year.

Over winter 1975-76 46521 was repainted into BR lined green again, although on this occasion with the early 'cycling lion' crests.[6] By summer it had been identified that the locomotive would need boiler involving changing two stays and attention to the foundation ring rivets,[7] although service continued with 46521 again topping the year's mileages with 5,120 miles.

The boiler work was carried out in early 1976, involving a partial replacement of two flanges and new studs, as well as attention to the tubes, with the locomotive appearing in the 1976 Autumn Steam Gala.[8]. However at the end of the year 46521 became one of the 'victims' of a new boiler policy requiring complete re-tubing, flues and all, whenever the flues needed replacement and the locomotive was withdrawn from service major boiler repairs and an overhaul.[9]

Second boiler ticket

The overhaul included attention to the axleboxes and the tyres being re-profiled on the newly commissioned wheel lathe.[10] Plans for a return to service during 1979 were not met due to delays in the boiler work. 46521 was one of the locomotives requested in winter 1979 for the forthcoming Rocket 150 celebrations in May 1980,[11] but work was still in progress with 3205 participating instead.[12] The overhaul which involved a complete rebuild in the Bridgnorth works, was the first such overhaul to be conducted by wholly by full time staff without volunteer input.[13]

Following completion of the overhaul in autumn 1980, 46521 began a second period of service. The locomotive was again in BR green livery and was consequently becoming known on the Railway as the "Green Mouse"[14] or the "Green Mickey"[15] 46521 was well used during the early season, but by being teamed with the LMS set was also used on peak season services.[16] During a cold spell in winter 1981-82, both Ivatt 2-6-0s 46521 and 43106 suffered extensively from burst pipes which had to be removed, repaired, refitted and tested.[17]

In summer 1983 owner Charles Newton remarked to MPD Manager John Robinson that 46521 "was not spot-on and sounded off-beat". John reassured him that it was most likely a recently broken valve ring and not to worry as it would be examined, whereupon 46521 started forward, emitted a continuous roar the chimney and then expired with a sigh. A quick visit to the works for new piston rings resolved the problem.[18]

Over winter 1984-85 46521 developed a crack issuing from a washout plug hole in the cab. Examination revealed it was an old crack from which BR's welding had dropped out, leading the Boiler Inspector (a Derby man) to remark that it "Must have been repaired at Crewe!"[19] The crack was repaired with the locomotive resuming service in 1985, although suffering blown superheater elements in April and eventually being withdrawn with leaking tubes, initially for a 'quick repair'[20]. However by summer 1986 further examination showed the boiler work required was much greater than first anticipated. Although little mechanical work was required apart from producing an expensive pattern to cast a new chimney 46552 joined the queue of locomotives awaiting overhaul.

Third boiler ticket

By autumn 1989 46521's boiler was well up in the "pecking order",[21] Work on the heavy overhaul began to gather pace during 1990, with the locomotive completing 158 miles of test running in 1981 ahead of a full return to service for the 1992 season.[22]

In addition to service on the SVR in 1992, 46521 spent some time working on the main line. Successful test running took place between Eastleigh, Salisbury and Yeovil Junction with a 235 ton load, followed by two stints on the Twyford - Henley branch shuttles in November. At Network SouthEast's request, 46521 then hauled a 5-coach special to thank all concerned with the 1992 'Steam on the Met', entailing a trip on the LT system from Neasden to Amersham crewed by SVR volunteers and continuing to Ealing Broadway with BR crews. Finally on 12 December 46521 worked another 5-coach excursion, the 'Ivatt Mainline Xmas Special' from Didcot via Moreton-in-Marsh to Kidderminster.[23]

46521 spent the summer of 1993 on hire to the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway. In 1995 46521 worked through the summer on shorter mid-week trains,[24] before travelling south on the main line with 80079 in November for a series of 'Santa Specials' in the London area.[25] The two locomotives worked a railtour from London back to the SVR on 1 January 1995 with 6024 King Edward I taking the return leg.[26]

In spring 1995 46521 with a brake van was regularly used on driver experience courses for which more than 100 people signed up.[27] On the Sunday of the Spring Steam Gala 46521 provided an unexpected sideshow by derailing on the Highley loop points, fortunately both the locomotive and trackwork emerged relatively unscathed.

Over winter and early spring 1996 the boiler was totally retubed and a new modified regulator similar to that in 46443 was also fitted. After returning to service 46521 was used in filming the first series of the BBC sitcom Oh Doctor Beeching! (a pilot episode having been filmed in 1995). The nine episodes were shot in May with 46521, which had been named 'Blossom' for the programme, hauling both passenger and goods trains.[28] 46521 was formally named ‘Blossom’ by actor Steven Lewis in a ceremony at Kidderminster on 17 February 1997.[29] A contract had also been signed for a second series of ten episodes to be filmed in May 1997. On 18 April the decision was taken to investigate the source of a steam leak on the left hand side of the foundation ring, requiring the removal of the boiler from the frames. Repairs to the foundation ring were carried out and reassembly completed in just 10 days. While filming at Highley on 17 May the leading tender wheel became derailed on the same points as two years earlier, again fortunately with no damage resulting[30].

1998 saw service continue as normal. On 25 February 1999 an SVR milestone was achieved when a special charter train comprising 46521 and Hawksworth observation saloon 80969 ran from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth using a crew drawn entirely from volunteers born after the end of the BR steam era in 1968 (driver Jason Houlders, age 29, fireman Andrew Sweet, age 21, and guard John Price, age 19).[31] At the end of 1999 46521 received a 'quick re-flueing' intended to last to the end of the '10-year ticket' in February 2001. In the event 46521’s third period of service ended at the end of 2000 having recorded a total of 84,031 miles since 1974. Full details of the mileage as recorded in SVR News can be found in the table below.

Year Mileage
First ticket
1974 670
1975 4,510
1976 5,120
1977 1,005
Second ticket
1980 1,470
1981 1,944
1982 1,901
1983 3,178
1984 1,904
1985 309
Third ticket
1991 158
1992 7,409
1993 2,382
1994 8,107
1995 5,507
1996 6,889
1997 8,780
1998 8,652
1999 7,766
2000 6,370
Total 84,031


Owner Charles Newton's other locomotive, 78019 had already left the SVR for the Great Central Railway in 1998 under a deal with Loughborough Standard Locomotives Group Ltd (LSLG) who became joint owners. After negotiations between Charles Newton and David Slack representing LSLG, 46521 was moved to the GCR for overhaul by LSLG in November, 2001 and is now owned in equal shares by LSLG and Charles Newton[32].

46521 returned to the SVR as a guest engine during the 2015 Autumn Steam Gala.

See also


  1. On the day, the planned route was closed to all traffic by a derailment north of Gloucester. Cardiff Control were contacted and Paddington eventually agreed to a late change of route via Hereford.


  1. SVR News 18, 19, 20
  2. SVR News 26
  3. SVR News 27
  4. SVR News 31
  5. 5.0 5.1 SVR News 36
  6. SVR News 39
  7. SVR News 40
  8. SVR News 44-45
  9. SVR News 46
  10. SVR News 47
  11. SVR News 54
  12. SVR News 56
  13. SVR News 57
  14. SVR News 67
  15. SVR News 159
  16. SVR News 60
  17. SVR News 63
  18. SVR News 68
  19. SVR News 74
  20. SVR News 17-78
  21. SVR News 93
  22. SVR News 101, 102
  23. SVR News 105
  24. SVR News 111-112
  25. SVR News 113
  26. SVR News 113
  27. SVR News 114
  28. SVR News 119
  29. SVR News 122
  30. SVR News 123
  31. SVR News 129
  32. 46521 on the GCR web site