34070 Manston – Restoration

Manston was the 146th Locomotive to leave Barry. It was purchased by the Manston Locomotive Preservation Society and in June 1983 was taken to some sidings at Richborough Power Station in Kent for restoration.

Restoration work and fund-raising progressed slowly but steadily over the next 12 years. However the impending closure of the power station meant that the group was requested to vacate the site at Richborough and found a 'home' on the Great Central Railway at Loughborough.

Following the decision to join Southern Locomotives, the engine was moved to Sellindge in Kent in September 1998 where it joined a number of other Bulleid pacifics in various stages of overhaul.

34070 Manston

Manston looks out from its tent at Sellindge prior to dismantling

Work commenced on preparing the locomotive so that the boiler and frames could be lifted from the wheels. In 2001 a crane was hired to do the necessary lifting of the boiler and the frames and the locomotive became a kit of parts.

2002 and 2003 saw the frames grit-blasted and painted and the superheater elements and tubes were removed from the boiler. The driving wheels were sent to Swindon for turning. The bogie and pony truck were sent to Herston works for overhaul together with the cab and numerous small fittings.

In 2004 the overhauled bogie and pony truck were returned to Sellindge and fitted to the newly overhauled frames so that they could be moved by low-loader to Herston works to complete the restoration. The boiler, together with that from Sir Keith Park was sent to Crewe for overhaul.

34070 Manston

Progress on Manston at Herston in October 2006

34070 Manston   34070 Manston

Overhauled three throw crank and new bearings awaiting fitting

One of Manston's injector bodies being machined

New 4,500 gallon Tender Frames

Manston, in common with most Bulleid pacifics rescued from Barry, did not have a tender so the team at Herston made a new one. Steel plate for the frames had to be specially rolled as imperial thicknesses are no longer produced. We have shared the cost of the production with other Bulleid owners who also need tenders and enough plate was produced to make six tender frames.

34070 Manston

The tender frames being constructed at Herston in October 2006
257 Squadron is in the background awaiting overhaul

34070 Manston

The restored tank, which ran behind 34023 Blackmore Vale in BR days, in place on the new frames

34070 Manston in preservation service

Work in Progress

34070 commissioning

Manston's recommissioning official ceremony to mark its return to service was on Saturday 19th September in Swanage. The nameplate was unveiled by Edward Fox, the well-known actor and Purbeck resident, who starred in the 1969 film 'Battle of Britain'.

34070 Manston

Edward Fox chats to a very youthful Graham Froud after the nameplate has been unveiled. Photo: Nick Thompson

There were around 80 invited guests including representatives from the RAF, the Spitfire Society and the Sir Keith Park Memorial Campaign as well as those from the Swanage Railway and Southern Locomotives. After the ceremony lunch was served on the train and Herston works was opened for visitors to see the progress being made on Sir Keith Park. It was an excellent day, much enjoyed by all concerned, and a fitting (if belated) celebration of the loco's return to service.

In service until damage

34070 was in regular service at Swanage Railway alongside Eddystone and 80104. It travelled to Eastleigh for the centenary celebrations of the works. In 2010 it visited both the Severn Valley Railway and the North Yorks Moor galas, followed by a photo charter on Swanage Railway.

A minor disaster struck in October 2011 when a water carry-over damaged parts of the enclosed valve gear. The loco was moved to Herston works for repairs. 257 Squadron and Sir Keith Park were also in the works at this point, making three Battle of Britain class locos under one roof - some kind of a record.

Manston was back in service by July 2012. In 2013 it visited the Great Central railway for 10 days. Early in 2014 it was brought into Herston and its steam pipes were replaced. For most of the year Eddystone was used in preference to maximise its mileage before its inpending withdrawal for overhaul. It had made a foray to the West Somerset Railway's gala, but failed with a loose piston on Day 2. We'd planned a Photo Competition which attracted some good entries nevertheless.

34070 Manston

34070 at WSR


Back in service