BRITISH RAILWAYS CLASS 2 2-6-0 No.78019
Between 1948 and 1950 following the Second World War, to satisfy the demand for new locomotives to replace obsolete and worn out machines the Railway Executive of British Railways continued to build locomotives of the most modern Big Four designs. One such was the Ivatt 2MT (see No.46521) a state of the art small locomotive introduced in the immediate post war era in accordance with latest design techniques.
The first Ivatt 2MT appeared from Derby in 1946 and the last emerged from Swindon in March 1953.
The Railway Executive then undertook the design a series of Standard Classes taking best practise from each of the Big Four railway companies but based most of its new locomotives on existing LMS designs. Some classes saw a few design developments but the BR Class 2MT, numbered in the 78XXX series, mechanically was virtually identical to its Ivatt predecessor, with some changes to the cab and the controls, the addition of grease lubrication points and the use of the BR standard injectors and clacks. A further improvement to the tender involved the use of Timken roller bearings on the wheelsets.
Controversy has surrounded the design, with its detractors questioning whether the BR 2MT was necessary at all given its similarity to the Ivatt design. In the event that the demise of steam saw them all withdrawn within 16 years of their introduction this is a valid question, but it must be remembered that they were introduced as an update of a successful design and were expected to last up to forty years, if the depreciation figures on the record cards are to be believed! The last 78XXXs were withdrawn in May 1967.
The GCR’s engine emerged from Darlington in March 1954 and spent its early years in the north east before moving to the north west and finally becoming one of the unlikely small stud of 78XXXs allocated to Willesden (1A), to work empty stock trains out of Euston until the end of steam there.
Upon withdrawal in 1966 No.78019 was despatched to Woodham’s yard in Barry, South Wales here it awaited its fate. The 35th locomotive to be bought from there for preservation it moved first to a private site and then to the Severn Valley Railway where it sat for more than 20 years. Then in 1998, following a deal between 78019’s owner, Charles Newton and the Loughborough Standard Locomotive Group Ltd, where joint equal ownership of the locomotive was agreed, it moved to Loughborough and restoration began in earnest. The outcome was the superb appearance at the GCR Summer Gala in 2004.