Friday, 17 April 2015

34016 'Bodmin' the West Country Class Ex-Spam Can Steam Locomotive

Photo: Charles Moorhen

Battle of Britain Locomotive Still Battling

Belonging to a class of steam locomotives known as the West Country class, 34016 'Bodmin', seen here in preservation at Alton railway station on the Mid-Hants Railway also known as the 'Watercress Line', is as good today as she was when she hauled an endless succession of trains between London and Cornwall.

'Bodmin' was one of 110 locomotives, numbered 34001 to 34110, designed by O.V.Bulleid specifically for hauling passenger trains on the non-electrified main lines of the Southern Railway.

The first of the class, 34001 'Exeter', came out of Brighton Works brand-new in May 1945. Production of the class increased to the point that by November of the following year, 48 locomotives of the West Country class were in traffic. They quickly earned the nickname 'Spam Cans' from the trainspotting community due to the fact that the locomotives were encased in air-smoothing body panels.

  At the beginning, the West Country locomotives were given names associated with locations in south-west England such as cities, towns and popular tourist destinations. The first example of this naming being, 34001 'Exeter'.

In November 1946 the naming policy was changed. As more locomotives of the class began to be used around Kent, a decision was made to name a number of engines after aircraft, airfields, RAF squadrons and key personalities associated with the WW2 Battle of Britain. And although identical in every way, a new class of locomotive was born - the Battle of Britain class.

Photo: Charles Moorhen
34016 'Bodmin' saw sterling service over the years on Southern rails. On more than one occasion she headed the 'Man of Kent' train between Charing Cross station and Dover Marine station, such as on the 13th September 1958.

On the 11th April 1958, she was swarmed over by railway enthusiasts at the annual Eastleigh Works Open Day as she stood resplendent in her new 'rebuilt' condition which included the removal of her air-smoothing body panels, leaving her as she appears today.
By June 1964, after 19 years of service, she had been withdrawn.

With the last of the West Country/Battle of Britain class, 34110 '66Squadron', emerging new from Brighton Works in January 1951, the writing was on the wall for steam locomotion.
As a result, the majority of the West Country, Battle of Britain, and their sister the Merchant Navy classes, ended their days cut up in scrapyards.

Luckily, avoiding one of these scrapyards, 34016 'Bodmin', made the transition from main line British Railways duties to further duties in preservation.
At the time of writing, 'Bodmin' is out of service and stored at Carnforth.

34010 'Sidmouth' leaves Waterloo 28 June 1952   Photo: Brian Morrison


A selection of railway videos from 'Along These Tracks'
UK Railways - Banbury Trains 16 June 2014 Video 
UK Railways - Trains at Gravesend March 2014 Video
UK Railways - Class 321 and 319 EMUs at Northampton 1999
UK Railways - Freight Through Northampton May 1999 Video
UK Railways - Class 58018 Heading a Ballast Train at Finedon
UK Railways - Banbury Trains at Night Video
UK Railways - Trains at Basingstoke Station 12 August 2013
UK Railways - 375 and 395 EMU's at Martin Mill and Ashford International
UK Railways - Freight Trains Through Northampton May 2013
UK Railways - Virgin Pendolinos Through Bletchley May 2013
UK Railways - Class 350 Desiro EMU Trains at Northampton May 2013
UK Railways - Class 390 Virgin Pendolinos Through Wolverton 2013 Video
UK Railways - Class 350 'London Midland' EMU's at Wolverton 2013 Video
UK Railways - Chiltern Railways, First Great Western, XCountry DMU's at Banbury 2013
UK Railways - Class 222 Trains DMU's at Wellingborough Apr 2013
UK Railways - Class 43 IC125 Trains at Wellingborough Apr 2013 Video
UK Railways - Class 222 Trains, DMU's, at Wellingborough Apr 2013 Video
UK Railways - Class 321 EMU Snakes into Bletchley Sidings 1990's
UK Railways - Class 321 & 350 EMU's at Wolverton Video
UK Railways - Class 321 Network South East leaves Bletchley Video
UK Railways - Class 321 Silverlink Trains EMU leaves Wolverton Video
UK Railways - Class 325 Royal Mail EMU Passes through Rugby Video
UK Railways - Class 350 127 EMU Passes through Rugby Video
UK Railways - Class 321 418 Silverlink EMU at Wolverton
UK Railways - Class 60 015 Diesel Locomotive approaches Wolverton
UK Railways - Virgin Pendolino Class 390 041 EMU at Rugby Video

Photo of Class 67017 Arrow Diesel Locomotive at Leamington Spa

Class67017 , seen here in EWS livery, hauling a Chiltern Railways train, was photographed at Leamington Spa station . A number ...