SR 34053 Sir Keith Park

SR 34053 Sir Keith Park
34053 SKP Highley 2016.JPG
34053 at Highley in 2016
Built By SR Brighton Works
Configuration 4-6-2
BR rating 7P6F
Status Left the SVR
Loco Number 34053
Other Numbers SR 21C153
Built 1947
Designed By Oliver Bulleid
Type SR Battle Of Britain Class
1965 Withdrawn by BR
1984 Left Barry
2012 Entered service on SVR
2018 Moved from the SVR
Length 67ft 4¾"
Weight 86t
Tractive effort 27,720 lb
Pressure 250 lb/sq in

Steam Locomotives

34053 Sir Keith Park is a SR West Country Class 4-6-2 'Pacific' designed by Oliver (O.V.S.) Bulleid, CME of the Southern Railway (SR), and was one of the Class rebuilt by British Railways in the late 1950s with streamline casing removed and its chain valve gear replaced with the Walschaerts type. A description of the Class and features of the rebuilding programme can be found on the 34027 Taw Valley page.


34053 Sir Keith Park in service

34053 was built in 1946 at the SR’s Brighton Works and entered service at Salisbury MPD as SR no 21C153. It was named by Air Vice-Marshal Sir Keith Park at Brighton station on 19 September 1947.

It also worked on extended loan from the Stewarts Lane depot, where it hauled prestige services such as the Golden Arrow on many occasions, and it was during that period it first carried its BR number 34053 in June 1949. It had brief spells at Nine Elms in 1950 and Exmouth Junction in 1951, either side of a trip to Eastleigh where it was noted ex works in dark green livery in January 1951. It returned to Salisbury the following June.

In 1958 it was fitted with a larger water capacity LP Series 2 tender, then rebuilt in November of that year. In 1960 it was transferred to Bournemouth, where it often hauled the Pines Express on the Somerset & Dorset Railway. A further trip to Eastleigh followed in 1963.

34053 was withdrawn from service by BR in October 1965, by which time it had run 825,317 miles. It was towed to Woodham's scrapyard at Barry the following March. Some connecting rods in 34053's tender struck a bridge near Chandler's Ford and the convoy of locos were left at the east siding of Romsey station for several weeks.

34053 in preservation

34053's slide bars

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.[1]

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.[2] SKP ran her last SVR services on 2 January before winter maintenance works and her move to Swanage on 10 January 2018.[3] 34053 recorded a total of 41,405 miles in preservation on the SVR. The reported total may include mileage on hire to other railways while resident here.[4]

34053 moved to the Spa Valley Railway in September 2020, remaining in service there until the end of the locomotive's boiler ticket in 2022. Its subsequent overhaul incorporated a swap of its current boiler with that of its classmate 34010 Sidmouth[5], by coincidence Sidmouth's boiler spent some years at Bridgnorth MPD where it was used as a 'template' during the overhaul of Taw Valley.

See also


  1. SVR Forum
  2. SVRLive 23 August 2017
  3. SVR News 200
  4. SVR News 210, SVR-based Steam Locomotive Mileage 2017-2019, Duncan Ballard.
  5. SLL Website News, January 2024 34053 Sir Keith Park (retrieved 27 January 2024)