Rolvenden Locomotive Restoration Sheds

13th September 2010
On 11th September, a group of us were given the behind the scenes tour of the Rolvenden Locomotive Restoration sheds. This was an amazing experience, which is not usually seen by members of the public.

Rolvenden Locomotive Restoration Sheds Rolvenden Locomotive Restoration Sheds Rolvenden Locomotive Restoration Sheds Rolvenden Locomotive Restoration Sheds


Hunslet Austerity number 23 'Holman F Stephens'. This loco was built by Hunslet of Leeds in 1952 for the War Department. The engine worked at the Longmoor Military Railway, Bicester Military Depot and Shoeburyness. The loco was purchased by the K&ESR in 1972 and has provided a sterling service to the railway ever since.

Rolvenden Locomotive Restoration Sheds Rolvenden Locomotive Restoration Sheds


376 Norwegian's boiler - this boiler is 90% complete and requires a few small alterations to be made. It is the only superheated boiler on the K&ESR. 376 Norwegian used to work in a place called Hell for the Norwegian State Railways. It arrived on the K&ESR in the early 1970s but was withdrawn from service in 1977 needing some massive repairs. After an almost total rebuild, 376 returned to traffic in 1995 and stayed in service until 2006. She is currently undergoing a 10 yearly overhaul and this should hopefully be completed by late 2011.

Rolvenden Locomotive Restoration Sheds Rolvenden Locomotive Restoration Sheds Rolvenden Locomotive Restoration Sheds


This is the 376 Norwegian's main frames with motion being reassembled.

Rolvenden Locomotive Restoration Sheds Rolvenden Locomotive Restoration Sheds Rolvenden Locomotive Restoration Sheds


The GWR loco is no 1638 built to a Great Western design by British Railways in 1951. These classic Pannier tanks worked branchlines similar to the K&ESR on the Western region and later across the country.

Rolvenden Locomotive Restoration Sheds Rolvenden Locomotive Restoration Sheds


No 14 Charwelton: This loco was built by Manning Wardle in 1917 and worked in just two locations, Charwelton and Sproxton quarries. The loco was purchased for £280 in 1961 by the newly founded K&ESR Railway. The loco was in fairly regular service until 2001. The overhaul began but work was suspended in 2003 due to a shortage of Class 5 locomotives. The overhaul was resumed in 2007 as a volunteer lead project. The loco was overhauled and returned to service by the Saturday Gang, a group of young and new volunteers dedicated to overhauling/maintaining locomotives. The loco returned to service in February 2010.

Rolvenden Locomotive Restoration Sheds Rolvenden Locomotive Restoration Sheds Rolvenden Locomotive Restoration Sheds


753 P Class. This loco was built by Ashford Works in 1909 and worked suburban branchlines near London. Eventually displaced from this work the loco went to France as part of the WW1 British forces and shunted at Bolougne. The loco was hired to the K&ESR in the 1930s and when it wasn't at the K&ESR she was working as a shunter and pilot loco. Eventually she was purchased from BR by Hodsons Flower Mill and worked at Robertsbridge until 1970 when the line to the mill was closed. The P was then purchased by the K&ESR. The loco had a very large overhaul in the 1970s that wasn't completed until 1986 (but didn't start until 1984!). The loco received a new boiler in 2000, costing around £40,000. Part of the old boiler still remains.

Rolvenden Locomotive Restoration Sheds Rolvenden Locomotive Restoration Sheds


I would like to say a special thank you to David Hunter, who was our tour guide for the day, and has helped with the information on this post. David is part of the "Saturday Gang", who volunteer on a saturday to help restore these locomotives. Below are some links on their work.

Links
Saturday Gang on Youtube
KESR Locomotive Website
Kent and East Sussex Railway

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