On July 4 1988 a very shabby hunk of metal on wheels was carted off from
Woodham's scrap yard in Barry, South Wales.
It had been shoved around there for 23 summers and winters suffering corrosion
watching 205 other more complete and appealing pieces of similar machinery,
including some of it own type, being snapped up by steam locomotive
To facilitate the departure of some of these luckier engines the hulk had been
shunted too and fro becoming derailed on one occasion.
The leading bogie wheels had come off the tracks and, to remove the obstruction,
they were simply sliced off with a gas axe leaving the hulk an even more forlorn
and useless mess. If ever there was a "Barry-no-hoper" this was it.
What remained was constantly soaked by the rain bleached by the sun and bitten
into by the cruel spray-filled sea air leaving it smarting and rusting away.
To make matters worst from time-to-time humans with no humanity chopped off
limbs and ravaged the entrails.
There was no chimney, motion, pistons, gears or springs left: even the cab roof
was torn off to provide a bonnet for a younger sister already rescued and just
visible on the bunker sides was a number, 80072.
I was a loco-spotter in the early 1950s like so many other young boys and paid
frequent visits to my grandparents in Hampshire. I soon found out that, if you
went down to the nearby station of Bursledon in the afternoon, you would be
treated to an express train hauled by a Brighton Atlantic speeding through
quickly followed by a train with glossy new very impressive black express tank
locomotive on it - a BR Standard Four Tank.
These trains were the Bournemouth - Brighton and Plymouth - Brighton services,
the latter being pulled by a newly built 80XXX Class engine on a running in
Every few days the next one in the series would appear. No 80072 was completed
at Brighton in November 1953 and this was probably one of her first duties.
The Class was destined for service over a wide range of lines throughout the
country and No 80072, together with a batch of her sisters, was sent to Tilbury
on the Eastern Region. Here she seems to have been totally a passenger engine,
working heavy commuter trains in and out of London's Fenchurch Station.
One of her regular bosses was Roy Shelley, who passed out as driver on her. He
drove her often and came to look upon her as "my engine". His widow found out
about the preservation of the engine and became one of the benefactors of the
restoration project until her recent death.
Electrification brought an end to No.80072's usefulness at Tilbury and in July
1962 she was sent to the Western Region being assigned to 87D (Swansea East
This was the beginning of various wanderings on to Shrewsbury, back to Camarthen
for a summer and, in September 1965, to Leamington Spa. Of her activities there
we have quite a bit of evidence, mostly photographic, because she worked
commuter trains into Birmingham, iron-ore workings from Banbury and even on
banking turns from Stratford upon Avon up to the North Warwickshire line.
Otherwise of these itinerant years we know little and would be grateful for more
information. But British Railways were modernising, diesels were fast taking
over and No80072 was sent to Shrewsbury.
But they don't appear to have wanted her because on 24 July 1965 she was
with-drawn from service and sold to Woodham's of Barry for scrap. No80072 was a
mere child in steam locomotive terms being only 11 years of age.
Early in 1988 a chartered surveyor, Ray Treadwell, and his wife Elaine, were
looking for a engine to buy and discovered No.80072. A reserve already placed on
the engine was successfully challenged and purchase completed.
Ray had originally intended to take her to Brighton but shunting difficulties
over the third rail there deterred him and he turned to Swindon, who were
willing to take her. So rusted up was she, that loading at Barry was difficult,
so they oiled her up before unloading.
For a moment No.80072 showed some of her original vigour, for, as she was
lowered down, she ran free, broke through the chocks and unloaded herself in the
middle of the yard.
Swindon was planned as temporary resting place but it proved to be more than
that. Ray says that it was fortunate that the engine did go to Swindon because
it was possible to dismantle and start some work there. This would not have
happened at Brighton.
But Ray and Elaine were also trying to restore a pannier tank too so they
decided to seek others to restore No.80072. This led to the formation of the
Llangollen Standard Four Project, as it was acknowledged by some of the
Llangollen Railway members that this kind of engine would be an asset to their
She would also fill a place in Welsh railway history because not only had
No.80072 spent most of her years in Wales but examples of the Class had been
used over several lines in the North Wales in the latter years of BR steam.
Money had to be raised quickly to complete the purchase, as we were not the only
party interested in buying this engine, such is the favour bestowed on the type.
The engine was secured while Ray and Elaine became partners in the scheme.
The engine had already been dismantled when the Project team moved into Swindon.
The engine resided on the premises of the now Swindon Locomotive , Carriage and
Wagon Company set up in the old GWR works.
We are grateful to them for allowing us to go in to work on the engine and for
undertaking much of the early technical work. Professional work was needed as
years of corrosion had played havoc with the metal.
Getting the engine apart in the first place had not been easy. Frame stretchers
needed replacement or repair, strengthening had to be done in some places and a
bent back-end had to be straightened (probably form a heavy shunt in BR days).
Axle box liners were cracked and had to welded or replaced.
The driving wheels had been retyred by the time we became involved but the
broken wheelset had to be replaced with the new wheel hubs. Despite the extent
and cost of the work it was decided to restore to MT276 specification leaving
options for use on the main line open for the future.
The frames were thoroughly cleaned and six coats of paint applied. Axle boxes
were remetalled, journals machined and the engine made ready to receive her
driving wheels back.
By the summer of 1995 the engine was a rolling chassis again. The move came on
July 11 by road and she was received in the old goods shed at Llangollen. Now
work could get underway to fabricate and fit the parts needed to hang the new
Also transported at the same time with the engine had been the other axle boxes
and wheels together with the repaired set. Assembly now took place returning the
engine from an 0-6-0 to a 2-6-4.
With the completion of the new locomotive shed at Llangollen including its
restoration roads No.80072 could be removed form the depths of the goods shed
and took up position in the airy and spacious position reserved for her. The
move in the Autumn of 1996 has meant that work can proceed more easily. At
present lubrication, vacuum and steam heating pipes and fittings are being
attached and the brake gear and motion being assembled.
It has been found that many parts exist on preserved railways across the
country; these are being collected together as availability and finance allow.
The engine can be viewed by the public subject to prior arrangement but when the
planned observation platform is put in place in the locomotive shed, the public
will have regular opportunities to view the progress.Since Harry's article he has written to me with the following :-
When the engine left Brighton it went briefly to Plaistow Shed (33A) before
being sent on to Tilbury. On leaving the LTS it went to Old Oak briefly and then
on to Swansea. I refer in the article to it moving on to Shrewsbury - this was
because I have documentary evidence of it there at this time. However, I have
established that it wasn't shedded there then but would be a likely visitor
because it was working the Central Wales line which ended up at Shrewsbury and
likewise this would have taken it to Camarthen.
At Leamington I refer to iron ore traffic. This may be so but is probably
unlikely. This was based on the picture (which you have in the photo album in
paper cutting form) of it standing at Banbury with' seemingly, iron ore wagons.
I have since established that these contain stone from Ardley quarries - so
replace "iron ore" with "stone". (Iron ore trains from Banbury were not a
While she was at Swansea I have documentary evidence of her on Gloucester shed
in steam -- how she got there is an interesting one to work out.Also when it left Leamington apparently it was sent to Tyseley first - they
didn't want it so sent it on to Shrewsbury who promptly withdrew it
This is the official website of the group
of dedicated enthusiasts whose aim was to have 80072 steaming through the
Vale of Llangollen. This aim was achieved in 2009.
From this in 1991
To this in 2010