The creation of 84030

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Project Background

In 1980 a small group of Bluebell Railway members paid a visit to Woodhams scrapyard in Barry, South Wales. Woodhams was one of the final resting places for the displaced steam engines of British Railways awaiting the breakers torch.

78059 shortly after arrival at Sheffield Park - Tony SullivanThe visiting members decided to purchase a 2-6-0 No. 78059, a BR Class 2 Tender Engine that was minus its tender. A fund was set up to raise the £7,500.00 to buy the engine which arrived at the Bluebell on 23rd May 1983, as seen in Tony Sullivan’s photo on the right.

The lack of a tender and the fact that none of the 65 tender engines ran on Southern metals resulted in the decision being made to rebuild the engine as a tank engine. 30 engines were originally built with numbers 84020 to 84029 being allocated to the Southern Region based in the Eastern section for secondary duties mainly in Kent and East Sussex but none had survived into preservation. The decision to rebuild 78059 into a tank engine meant the next number in the series was taken out hence 84030 was born.

LMS & BR Class 2 Engines

Ivatt LMS 2MT Tank 41312 when visiting the Bluebell - John Jesson

The Class 2s were the smallest locos of the BR standard group of engines consisting of 60 tender and 30 tank engines. Both classes were based on the LMS (London Midland and Scottish Railway) Ivatt-designed locos, classified as 2MT (Class 2, Mixed Traffic) and destined to work on branch lines and secondary duties replacing a number of life expired engines.

Left: A taster of what’s to come, when Ivatt LMS 2MT Tank No. 41312 visited the Bluebell

The Ivatt-designed LMS Tanks had proven popular across Britain due to their wide route availability, ease of maintenance and efficient performance. The BR locos were a slightly heavier version of the Ivatts.

For interest 78059 was built at Darlington and released into traffic in September 1957 being allocated to Chester Northgate. After several moves it finished its working life at Crewe from where it was withdrawn in November 1966, a working life of just 9 years.

BR Class 2 Tank Engine Specification

2MT tank engine drawing

Thirty examples of the British Railways Standard Class 2MT 2-6-2 Tank locomotive were built; 84000-84019 at Crewe Works in 1953 and 84020-84029 at Darlington Works in 1957. They were all due to be built between 1952 and 1953 but the steel shortage in Britain’s post-war economy caused a cut-back in the locomotive building programme to be implemented early in 1952. This resulted in the first of the class being outshopped in August 1953, 12 months behind the original schedule, and the Darlington locomotives being deferred for several years. The first 20 were designed for use on the London Midland Region, whilst the 10 Darlington-built engines were delivered to the Southern Region.

Technical Data

Class: Standard Class 2 No. 84030 – as being rebuilt
Wheels: 2-6-2T
Class introduced: 1953
Designer: R.A. Riddles (but based closely on the LMS Ivatt design)
Purpose: Light Mixed Traffic on cross-country routes
Total number built: 30 (this will be the 31st)
No.84013 at Crewe in 1959 - John GriffithsLength: 38ft 9.5in overall
Weight: 66 Tons 5 cwt
Water capacity: 1,350 Gallons
Coal capacity: 3 Tons
Boiler Pressure: 200 lb/
Driving Wheels: 5ft diameter
Pony and Trailing Wheels: 3 ft
Cylinders: (2, outside) 16.5″ x 24″
Tractive Effort: 18,515 lbs
BR power classification: 2MT – or 2P/2FA on BR(S)


John Griffiths’ photo (above) shows British Railways Standard class 2 No. 84013 just out of the paint shops at Crewe Works. He dates it as 1959, although the later BR crest, the presence of overhead wire warning flashes and records showing 84013’s visit to Crewe occurring during September/October 1960 make a date during October 1960 more likely.
Photo © John Griffiths

Rebuild Project

After arrival at the Bluebell Railway some work was started on the loco but the main effort for a good length of time was to raise funds to repay the money loaned to the group to cover the cost of transport from Barry. Eventually the boiler was taken out and stored on a flat wagon and the frame was lifted from the wheel sets, these were cleaned and sent to Swindon for turning, returning to the Bluebell during March 1991.

A little while after the wheels were returned to the railway Colin Turner recruited Stan Ponting and John Jesson to work on the project and a small group was formed who met regularly on Thursdays. The next major step was to cut off the rear section of the frames and weld on the newly constructed rear frame extension, the engine finally becoming a tank engine, this work was completed by the workshop staff during 2011.

The next big stage was to construct a hard, covered and level standing area as the engine had been stored in a number of locations all being outdoors and open to the elements other than a short period in the running shed. This made working on the engine difficult and very much weather dependent plus a continuous battle to protect the engine from the British weather.

The problem was finally overcome when in 2018 hardstanding was created, with a poly-tunnel style building erected over it, alongside Atlantic House. The opportunity was taken to reunite the frames with its driving wheelsets when relocating the engine into its new dry home.

Crane re-wheeling 84030's frames - John Jesson - 26 July 2018

In between these major stages, work has continued on a large number of items such as front and rear pony trucks, horn guides, sanding valves, vacuum and steam pipework plus a large number of valves, springs, fittings etc. A lot of this work was recorded in John Jesson’s 25 newsletters published between Spring 2006 and Summer 2018 and in the regularly published Bluebell News magazine.

Since the untimely death of John, who with Stan Ponting led the team working on the project for over 12 years, a new team has been formed led by Chris Wren and Brian Turner. Tony Sullivan, who was in the party that visited Woodham’s scrap yard in Barry and was instrumental in securing the engine for the Bluebell, is still a keen member of the working group looking after all the funds and administration.

Good progress is again being made, and as of the photo below, in July 2023, the front and rear parts of the bunker had been attached, and the newly commissioned side tanks arrived and had been fitted in position.

Side tanks in position on 84030's frames - 18 July 2023

To keep the flow of information on the progress of the project to all of our loyal supporters and contributors to our funds this new project page has been set up and regular updates are being added as progress is made.

Current News

Bunker construction in progress - January 2024

January 2024

The latest project update, the January Newsletter, is now available as a PDF download.
This photo shows the righthand side of the bunker now in position and ready for welding, and then the drilling and riveting of the angle iron strengthening bars.
It is planned for the bunker to be complete by this summer and then a start will be made on the cab.

New side tank delivered - 18 July 2023

July 2023

A project update and July Newsletter is now available as a PDF download.
This photo shows one of the new tanks, constructed to our drawings by the 4253 Loco Group based at the K&ESR, delivered to Sheffield Park on 18 July, whilst that above shows the two new tanks in position.

New right-hand side tank for 84030, constructed off-site - January 2023

January 2023

A project update and January Newsletter is now available as a PDF download.
This photo shows the new right-hand side tank which has been constructed off-site.

Rear bunker panel in its final position - October 2022

October 2022

A project update and October Newsletter is now available as a PDF download.
This photo shows the rear bunker panel in its final position and bolted down to the underframe.

New plates for 84030's bunker - April 2022

April 2022

A project update and April Newsletter is now available as a PDF download.
This photo shows the new steel plate which has been profiled and delivered which will form the front and rear of the bunker. It also shows the refurbished and re-certificated lifting gantry, which will be put to good use in erecting the bunker onto the engine frame.

Rear frame - December 2021

December 2021

A project update and December Newsletter is now available as a PDF download.
This photo shows the (extended) rear frame of the locomotive, onto which the new bunker, now under construction, will be assembled.

First part of bunker assembly for 84030 - September 2021

September 2021

A project update and September Newsletter is now available as a PDF download.
The photo here shows the start of assembling the new bunker – this is the shovelling plate. The profile-cut holes in the plates are being used as a template for drilling the angle iron. The assembly is then temporarily bolted together for trial fitting in its final location before drilling/reaming for riveting.

Trial fitting of reversing gear - Tony Sullivan - 28 May 2021

July 2021


The team have recently returned to work on the project. The first edition of their new 84030 Rebuild Project Newsletter is now available to view/download as a PDF. It also contains an appeal for new volunteers to join the project, since not all the old team have returned after the lockdown.

The photo (by Tony Sullivan) shows a trial fitting of the reversing gear.

Spring/Summer 2020

The project came to a halt due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the enforced shutdown of the railway. This has not meant that nothing is happening as Harry, an apprentice in the Loco Works, is preparing manufacturing drawings for the side tanks. This is proving to be a difficult exercise and very time consuming but hopefully Harry will have the drawings in a position that cost estimates can be obtained once we are all back at the Railway. In addition Vic Short, a volunteer in the Carriage and Wagon Department at Horsted Keynes, has been producing a number of CAD drawings, from information supplied by Brian Turner, suitable for laser or water jet profiling of components for the side tanks, sanding valves, hand brake and bunker.

If you would like to join the team, please see details in the 84030 Newsletter No.1.

If you are unable to join the working group and would just like to support the team rebuilding 78059 into 84030 please Donate online or download our Donation/Information Form

This is how 84030 will look when the rebuild is complete

Model of 84030 as it will be

Above: Model of 84030 as it will be
Below: No. 84019 at Willesden Shed

Photograph by A.R.Carpenter. Used by courtesy of


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Text provided by Chris Wren.
Last updated 21 January 2024 by Richard Salmon