Buttons Index

LAST DAYS OF 35015 and 35002

31st May 2015: Gav Lawrence from NSW Australia asks:
I'm trying to gain some information on 35015 and why it was withdrawn along with 35002 at such an early stage. '15 was stored at the Elms for a number of months before being dispatched for breaking up. I would imagine the sight of the first withdrawn Merchant Navy Pacific would have caused a bit of banter in the enginemen's cabin at the time? Do any of your ex 70A men recall why she was withdrawn?

Alan Newman has replied:
To answer the question raised by our friend Gav from down under.

35002 was delivered new in June 1941 and 35015 in March 1945. Both were re-built in 1958, 35002 in May having run 776,797 miles and 35015 in June, having run just 549,706 miles. 35015 was to stay at Nine Elms for most of its life, indeed only venturing to Stewarts Lane when out shopped after re-building June 1958. By February 1959 she was back at Nine Elms where she remained until withdrawn in the 1st week of Feb 1964 having run in total 813,950 miles. In contrast 35002 was only a Nine Elms asset for 1 week being transferred from Bournemouth in the last week of January 1964. 35002 was withdrawn the same day as 35015 having run 1,101,914 miles.

As far as I can recall there was no major fault with either of them, it seems they were both due an intermediate overhaul, due to miles run or time since last works visit. The records seem to record that the early M/N to be rebuilt enjoyed a major works overhaul before the run down of motive power began. 35001 was re-built in August 1959 but withdrawn November 1964 having run 1,095,584 miles. The last M/N re-built having only run 401,005 miles was 35028 and ended BR service on 9th July 1967 having run a total of only 794,381 miles and is still performing to this day.

For the most only a few of the Bulleids were withdrawn due major mechanical faults, 35004 broken rods after a bout of slipping near Basingstoke October 1965. 35010 broken r/h side cylinder cover after water in the front end Feb 1966. The only light pacific I recall to be withdrawn due to mechanical failure was 34064 Fighter Command, like 35004 bent connecting rods again near Basingstoke but working a down service.

Sadly generally most seemed to face the chop just because they were on shed at wrong time! Indeed 34031 Torrington I worked in to Nine Elms at 1.30pm and had to dispose (clean fire,smoke box and Ash Pans etc). Having been told to save the fire. Just a couple hours later the Running Foreman (Len Trigg) came into mess room and told me to go back to 34031 out the throw out fire she had just been withdrawn. The best news was we booked another 1 hour 20 mins over time for the sad task!

Nigel Whitwell has added :
I must take issue regarding 35010 as I tape-recorded her leaving Basingstoke on 28/5/66 on a Down train so the date of March 1966 is wrong. Her exhaust beat was quite extraordinary and 'off'. I did later that year photograph her left-hand cylinder at Nine Elms. The cylinder had obviously burst at sometime.

I recall seeing both 35002 and 35015 both surprisingly withdrawn at Nine Elms MPD in 1964. I remember 35015 as a recent rebuild on 'Night Ferry' etc. duty in 1959 so that was a waste of money in rebuilding. Incidentally, I always thought 35015 was the only modified 'MN' to work on the SE Division in BR days, but I've since heard of at least one other alleged occasion when another was utilized.

Shedmaster - I don't believe 35010 was withdrwan until September 1966.

Alan Goodwin wrote:
Your correspondent Nigel Whitwell, in the above thread, states that he had heard of at least one rebuilt Merchant Navy other than 35015 working on the South Eastern. He might be interested in the following:

and given that the date is correct it cannot be “Rotterdam Lloyd” as it was not modified until June 1958.

My friend and I decided to dig deeper and he has found a Trains Illustrated magazine from February 1958 that has a report stating that 35010 “Blue Star” worked the down “Night Ferry on the 28th December 1957, so it is almost certainly the same loco in the picture having worked the up service the morning after. There is also a picture, but not accurately dated, on the “Len’s of Sutton” list of the same loco on the turntable at Dover Marine, so it looks like it worked a daytime service as well at around the same time.

It would be interesting to why it had been drafted in by the South Eastern? Could there have been a severe loco shortage caused by the Lewisham accident and the busy Christmas period? Or perhaps it is just on test to see how a rebuild performs on the South Eastern’s heaviest train. Can anyone shed some more light on this?

Nigel Whitwell replied:
Regarding Alan Goodwin's interesting information regarding 35010, I understand 35026 worked at least two services on the SE Division in modified form. I saw 35015 on the Up 'Night Ferry' over several days when newly out of shops.

BTW there is a colour picture in the August 2015 issue of 'Steam World' of a driver on 35024 at Waterloo in 1963 (Transport Treasury photograph by D. Pollard); anyone recognize him?

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