Austerity Saddle Tank – History

Our saddle tank was built by Robert Stephenson's Locomotive Works in 1943 and given the works number 7086/43 and as WD5050 was delivered to 154 Railway Operating Company at Long Marston on 24th April 1943 in khaki livery, in readiness for the D-Day landings.

In August 1944 it was moved to the Longmoor Military railway and renumbered 75050. In December of that year it was shipped to France and traveled in December of that year to the SNCB depot at Antwerp Dam. Utilised for local services over the next six months it was then transferred to 155 Railway Workshops Company in May for wheel turning, returning to Antwerp, but this time the ‘south’ sheds.

On 19th February 1946 it was returned to the UK and was bought by Doncaster Amalgamated Colliery Ltd. It remained there, or close by, for 24 years bearing the number 35 for most of the time until it was moved to Askern Main colliery in 1970. In the early 1960's it was fitted with a Gas Producer firebox and a Kylpor exhaust. For the next six years it saw little use being kept as a spare engine. It was repainted in dark green livery in the mid Seventies and eventually sold to the Titanic Steamship Company in 1976, who sold it on to the Kent & East Sussex Railway in 1979. It was renumbered 27 and put on static display, firstly in red and latterly in Royal Blue.

Austerity Saddle Tank

No. 27, on display at Tenterden Station, Kent and East Sussex Railway. The unusual chimney is in fact a dummy, made of fibre glass!

The K&ESR's other commitments meant that it was put at the back of the overhaul queue and it was finally sold to a private purchaser in 1995 and transferred to the Midland Railway Centre, Swanwick.