The Bluebell Line in Sussex was one of the earliest preserved steam railways in the UK. It currently runs from Sheffield Park at its southern end through some beautiful Sussex countryside to the town of East Grinstead.
“Camelot”, engine number 73082, is a Class 5MT, 4-6-0 locomotive built in 1955, and is seen here about to pull out of Sheffield Park for the 3.45pm service to East Grinstead.
“Camelot” was one of the Southern Region’s allocation of Standard 5s, and when the King Arthur class, which they replaced, were being withdrawn, a staff suggestion led to the names being transferred to the new engines. Modern engines with roller bearings, highly capable and easy to maintain, they were withdrawn long before they were worn out thanks to BR’s rush to get rid of steam in the 1960s.
A survivor of the Barry Scrapyard in Wales, “Camelot” is the only remaining one of these named Standard 5s. It was returned to working order thanks to the dedication of the Camelot Society, which carried out fund-raising and engineering work. The latter included the construction of a brand-new tender body, fitted to frames recovered from a South Wales Ironworks, since, like so many Barry locos, it had lost its tender. It was a core member of the Bluebell’s loco fleet for the decade after it returned to traffic in 1995.
Engine No. 92212 was one of the last 9Fs to be built, being turned out from Swindon in September 1959. First allocated to Banbury, it was transferred in June 1961 to Bath (Green Park) for working over the Somerset and Dorset route to Bournemouth, it was transferred to Ebbw Junction, Newport in September 1961 and then to Tyseley in July 1962. It remained there until November 1966, when it spent its last months at Carnforth. The locomotive was sold to Woodham Brothers scrapyard in Barry, South Wales, where it arrived in January 1968. It was then bought by 92212 Holdings Ltd, and moved to the Great Central Railway at Loughborough in September 1979. Restoration was completed in September 1996, and the engine is based at the Mid-Hants Railway. Following a major overhaul lasting just over two years, in which time it was purchased by Jeremy Hosking, the locomotive returned to operational service on 11 September 2009. 92212 was hired to the Bluebell Railway to provide cover during its current motive power shortage. The locomotive returned to the Mid-Hants Railway in 2013 and is currently (Spring 2016) in service on that line.
Below, 92212 awaits departure for East Grinstead.