Robert Frise - Newly restored Beattie in Downyard platform October 2006
Robert Frise - Beattie in action 16th April 1979
In 1863 the Beyer Peacock and Co. works at Gorton, Manchester completed the first of a class of 2-4-0 well tanks built to a design of Joseph Beattie for the London and South Western Railway. In all, eighty-five were built, successfully working the suburban services out of Waterloo, until the introduction of larger 4-4-2 tanks designed by William Adams in the early 1880s. When the Adams engines took over the suburban traffic, the well tanks were transferred to country depots for use on branch lines. Here, their small water capacity was found to be a drawback, so thirty-one of the class were rebuilt as tender engines with new boilers fitted at the same time. Six more received new boilers and enclosed cabs.
The tender engines and the un-rebuilt tank engines were withdrawn in the 1890s, together with three of the six reboilered tank engines. Only numbers 298, 314 and 329 survived (subsequently renumbered in the duplicate list as 0298, 0314 and 0329). Their remarkable survival was because in 1895 they were transferred to work on the Wenford Bridge china clay branch in Cornwall. It was found there were no other engines capable of working this lightly-laid mineral line with its tortuous curves, so nearby Wadebridge depot was to be their home for another sixty-seven years. Often when the well tanks became due for repair, the management of the LSWR, or its successor the Southern Railway, tried to get rid of them. Each time nothing suitable to replace them was found, so the vintage 2-4-0s were taken to Eastleigh Works for rebuilding or overhaul, and sent west again.
This situation continued until 1962, when the line came under the control of BR Western Region, when they were replaced by three 1369 class pannier tanks. Two of the trio have survived for preservation, 298 (ex BR 30587) as part of the National Collection and of course our own loco (ex-BR 30585), the latter machine having covered 1,314,838 miles in its eighty-nine years on the national system.
Since 314 entered service its appearance has changed beyond all recognition. Joseph Beattie's design had an open footplate and a most unusual design of firebox with two fire holes. In the 1890's William Adams fitted a new boiler and an enclosed cab. The next rebuild introduced a Drummond boiler and removal of the mechanical water pumps, giving an appearance much as when the society acquired the loco as No. 30585.
Beattie, as the loco is affectionately known, was purchased from British Railways in 1963 through the efforts of a handful of dedicated Quainton members. An initial appoach to British Railways by the Bluebell Railway had come to nothing, and the secretary of the LRPS, Richard Castle, obtained a quote of £750 from British Railways for purchase of the locomotive. At the time the foreruner to the QRS, the LRPS, was struggling to find funds to purchase a Metropolitan Tank locomotive, so obtaining funds for the purchase of a second locomotive seemed unlikely. However, it was agreed that a separate fund for the purchase of 30585 should be started. By 14 October 1963 the fund stood at £47-4-7, at which British Railways, in the form of their Scrap Sales Department dropped a bombshell, requsting payment of the £750 within one month, otherwise the loco would be "disposed of elsewhere" Richard Castle managed to get a extension of time until the 31st December 1963, and with two loan cheques arriving just before the deadline, Beattie became the property of the LRPS. A cheque was posted off to British Railways a day before the deadline, despite a boiler inspection being awaited.
Beattie was towed as freight to the Hockerill Cold Store, Bishops Stortford, in March 1964 for a period of storage, before to transfer to Quainton on 9th May 1969. Seven years after ceasing work on the mainline network, she was returned to steam on 22nd March 1970, and then worked passenger trains in the down yard at Quainton for a number of years. However, in the 1980s major repairs became necessary and Beattie was withdrawn from service. In 1999 work was started on a major overhaul.
During 2005 Beattie's sister locomotive, No. 30587, part of the National Railway Museum's collection, was restored to operation at the Flour Mill in the Forest of Dean, and is now based at the Bodmin & Wenford Railway. The overhaul of this locomotive was sponsored by Bodmin's Alan Moore, who very generously also decided to sponsor the completion of Beattie's restoration at the Flour Mill. As part of the restoration agreement, Quainton's Beattie will spend sometime operating with No. 30587 on the Bodmin & Wenford Railway, close to their former Cornish base.
Beattie's first steaming after restoration took place on Saturday 7th October 2006 at Quainton, with an official re-launch by the Hon. Sir William McAlpine. A week later our Beattie left for Bodmin, as part of the restoration agreement, where she met her sister No. 30587. The two locomotives operated together probably for the first time since an enthusiast's special in 1962. In January 2007 Beattie returned from Bodmin to Quainton, although further return trips to Cornwall will occur over the next few years. The next one was in October 2008 for their Branch Line weekend, staying until the end of that year. Beattie also has spent time visiting other railways, including the Mid Hants Railway for their steam gala in March 2007. Visits in 2010 included Swanage Railway's Victorian Gala in May 2010, followed by a short trip to the Great Central Railway. Another trip to the Bodmin and Wenford Railway followed in September 2010. On the 28th to 30th May 2011 BRC's Beattie substituted for her B&WR sister which had failed with a leaking tubesheet, at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway's Gala.
In May 2012 BRC's Beattie appeared as her long lost sister No. 30586. No 30586 had a somewhat different appearance to her surviving sisters, with larger square wheel splashers. In March 2013 Beattie travelled to the Battlefield Line (Market Bosworth Railway) near Leicester for a weeks hire for a Gala weekend. She joined the Battlefield lines home fleet and the NRM's LSWR T9 Greyhound from Bodmin.
In 1974, the centenary of Beattie's building, the Quainton Railway Society published a short publication called "The Centenary of the Beattie Well Tank at Quainton". This publication, long out of print, is now available on this website.
|Builder :-||Beyer Peacock||Date Built :-||1874||Origin :-||LSWR|
|Alternate Numbers :-||BR 30585||Name :-||-|
|Wheel Arrangement :-||2-4-0WT||Tractive Effort :-||11,053 lb||Boiler Pressure :-||160 psi|
|Cylinder Dimensions :-||16½" X 20"||Weight :-||37t 16c||Driving Wheel Dia. :-||5' 7"|
|Owner :-||QRS||Status :-||Operational||Location :-||Up Yard|
|Accession Number :-||W/0001|
Text © Quainton Railway
Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced
Page Updated: 20 July 2013