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GWR 57XX Class 0-6-0PT No. 7715 (L.99)
The pannier tanks of the Great Western Railway are probably the best known of all British tank engines. First introduced in 1904 as rebuilds of the 2021 class saddletanks, the type became the mainstay of shunting, light freight and local passenger work in the GWR system.
Mr C. B. Collett introduced the 57XX class in 1929 and it was to become one of the largest in Britain, with a total of 863 delivered by 1950. 7715 itself was one of a batch of twenty-five built by Kerr Stuart and Co. of Stoke-on-Trent in 1930, shortly before the firm was taken over by the Hunslet Engine Company. The locomotive was Kerr Stuart works number 4450.
St Blazey, near Par, Cornwall, was to be the home of 7715 for the major part of its life on the national system. Duties included pick-up freight and the china clay traffic for which the area is well known. Work on these trains would have taken the engine to Bodmin and it is quite possible that 7715 may have met our Beattie Well Tank 0314 at this time. The locomotive's final years on the national network were spent at Duffryn Yard, Port Talbot.
Between 1958 and 1963, a number of 57XX class engines were transferred to London Transport. They were used on works trains and for shunting at Neasden and Lille Bridge Depots. 7715 was one of the last to arrive, in June 1963, and was given the number L.99 when it received the LT maroon livery (shown in the first picture above).
L.99 arrived at Quainton by road from Neasden on 2nd January 1970 and was used at the Easter open days of that year. It was then taken out of service for overhaul, returning to operation in Easter 1972, with its original GWR 7715 numberplates, though the engine was painted in a livery of black with the British railways lion emblem on the tank. 7715 subsequently received a heavy overhaul in 1979 and has since been painted in BR black and GWR green 1947 livery while working the Centre's trains. No. 7715 spent the summer of 1987 on hire to the Llangollen Railway, leaving Quainton on the 14th July and returning on the 24th September. Whilst at Llangollen the loco covered in excess of 600 miles.
Another overhaul brought No. 7715 up to British Rail mainline standard so that, as L99, it could work special steam trains on the London Underground from Neasden.
During Winter 2003 it had an intermediate overhaul, which included a cylinder re-bore, with the assistance of the Severn Valley Railway. It is likely that this will be the last possible re-bore before it will be necessary to sleeve the cylinders. No. 7715 was outshopped in GWR green.
After a failure at Xmas 2005 the loco spent a period out of operation until an agreement was reached with South Coast Steam for them to restore the locomotive. Now back in operation it will be available for hire by South Coast Steam to other steam railways, and when not on hire returned to Quainton. In July 2008 it was dispatched on hire to the Spa Valley Railway initially for one year, though this was extended until late 2010. In preparation for the Spa Valley Railway's London Steam Gala the locomotive was repainted into its London Transport L99 livery. The locomotive returned to Quainton for storage for the 2010 / 2011 winter as South Coast Steam had no immediate client for it. In March 2011 L99 was dispatched to the North Norfolk Railway for a two year hire period, though it has been withdrawn from service with a cracked boiler foundation ring. After assessment at Llangollen, the locomotive returned to Quainton on the 31st May 2014, and is awaiting assessment.
|Builder :-||Kerr Stuart||Date Built :-||1930||Origin :-||GWR|
|Number :-||7715||Alternate Numbers :-||LT L.99||Name :-||-|
|Wheel Arrangement :-||0-6-0PT||Tractive Effort :-||22,515 lb||Boiler Pressure :-||200 psi|
|Cylinder Dimensions :-||17½" X 24"||Weight :-||47t 10c||Driving Wheel Dia. :-||4' 7½"|
|Owner :-||QRS||Status :-||Awaiting Maintenance||Location :-||Upyard|
|Accession Number :-||W/0010|
Text © Quainton Railway
Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced
Page Updated: 21 December 2014