34072 257 Squadron – BR Service

257 Squadron was built at Brighton Works and completed in April 1948. The locomotive was allocated to Dover shed, principally to work the Continental Boat Trains to London. One of its main duties appears to have been the Night Ferry. It also worked on local services between the Kent Coast and Charing Cross and on one occasion it worked over the Tonbridge to Redhill line, believed to have been a first for a Bulleid light Pacific.

34072 257 Squadron

257 Squadron emerging from Martello Tunnel,
and heading towards Folkestone Junction
Photo:© H.C. Casserley

The electrification of the Kent coast lines in 1958 saw many of the steam locomotives transferred away from the area and 257 Squadron was moved to Exmouth Junction, early in 1958 (probably during six weeks ending 22/2/58). This was the Southern Region's main shed for the West Country and 257 Squadron would have worked trains to Salisbury, Plymouth and to the Southern's many destinations in North Devon and North Cornwall. It seems to have been frequently photographed around Ilfracombe.

34072 257 Squadron

257 Squadron at Exmouth Junction shed

It moved to its final allocation, Eastleigh, on 14th June 1964, whence it was withdrawn in 25th October 1964, having run a total of 698,843 miles in its working life of just over 16 years. Apparently it was resteamed in December 1964 in connection with a steam special, but more details aren't known, unless someone out there can elucidate. SLL shareholder Malcolm Garner timed 257 Squadron on several runs between Woking and Waterloo in September 1964. Details can be found here. Note the 82mph reached at West Byfleet, just a month before withdrawal.

The locomotive arrived at Woodham's scrapyard on 18th February 1965 where it quietly rusted away for the next 19 years.

34072 257 Squadron

'One careful owner!' - 257 Squadron in Barry scrapyard