BR 80079

Resource Type: Image | Posted on 28th November 2011 by Liam Physick

Here is British Railways No. 80079, a member of BR Standard Class 4 2-6-4T. They were built because while the London Midland and Western Regions were well served by tank locomotives, which were suited to commuter and secondary services, on the Scottish and Southern Regions, many tank engines predated the 1923 grouping and were well out of date. To rectify this, BR ordered a series of tank locomotives, designed by R A Riddles, built between July 1951 and November 1956, based on the LMS Fairburn 2-4-6T (better known as the Fairburn Tank Class), but modified to reduce the envelope so they could fit the loading gauge: to do this, the tanks and cab were more curved than in the Fairburn, the cylinder size was reduced, to make up for this boiler pressure was increased, and plating was introduced at the head of the cylinders. Riddles was of the opinion that the future lay with diesel and electric traction, but he recognised that Britain could not as yet afford this. 155 Standard 4s were built, numbered 80000-80154: 15 more were ordered for 1957, but cancelled due to dieselisation, and the last five would also have been had they not been in too advanced a state of construction when the cancellation order came. No. 80079 was completed at Brighton in March 1954. They were versatile, and also had a good turn of speed. They were found on all BR regions, except the Western, but were especially associated with the London, Tilbury and Southend Line, pulling commuter trains out of London until the route was electrified in 1962. This was where 80079 worked, hauling trains between London and Southend. On 30th January 1958, its driver missed a danger signal in thick fog, and the locomotive crashed into the back of another train near Dagenham, killing 10 passengers in the rear coach. Standard Class 4s were also common in East Sussex and Kent, where they worked from Brighton, Tunbridge Wells and Three Bridges on the non-electrified lines of the former London, Brighton and South Coast Railway. Others worked on Glasgow commuter services, being based at the Polmadie depot in the south-east of the city. In July 1962, following the electrification of the London, Tilbury and Southend Line, some Standard Class 4s, including 80079, were transferred to the Swansea (East Dock) and Shrewsbury district, in the Western Region. In same year, No. 80103 was reported for rough riding, and towed between two locomotives to Stratford Works, where the mainframe was found to be broken in half: it was considered that it would too expensive to repair the locomotive, and it was therefore scrapped. The remainder of the Class was withdrawn between 1964 and 1967 (when steam locomotives were withdrawn en masse early in the decade, Class 4s were initially spared as they were newer than most classes) - 80079 was retired in July 1965 and sent to Barry scrapyard. No. 80002 remained on duty as a stationary coach heater in Glasgow until 1969, one year after the official abolition of steam power on British Rail, and now runs on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway: otherwise, the last nine were withdrawn from service on the Southern Region on 9th July 1967. 15 Standard 4s have survived (only the Stanier Black Five Class, with 18 preserved examples, can boast more), and of those 15, all but three - 80097, 80100 and 80150 - have been steamed in preservation. In our house we have a model of No. 80054, which has not been preserved. 80079 was bought from Barry by the Severn Valley Railway in 1971 and entered service there in 1977. Having been on static display at the Engine House on the SVR (previously on display for two years in the Shildon branch of the National Railway Museum), No. 80079 was bought by Jeremy Hosking in November 2011 to be restored for use on the Railway

BR 80079

Tagged under: steam locomotives, tender locomotives, rocket 150, british rail, diesel locomotives, tank locomotives, grand cavalcade, heritage railways, electric locomotives, pacific class locomotives

Categorised under: Landmarks, Landscapes & Locomotives

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By RicP on 25th July 2013

The possible sale to Jeremy Hosking fell through, and the locomotive remains the property of the Passenger Tank Fund.  I am a shareholder, and gave considerable time to restoring the locomotive in the 70s.  I succeeded in carefully applying filler to remove the gash down the side tank!

By Peter on 5th July 2014

Did you know that loco 80079 was used in the film “4:50 from Paddington”, based on Agatha Christie’s novel and starring Joan Hickson as “Miss Marple”?
Look at 4:20 in the attached…

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