Steam locomotive 80150 is a remarkable survivor. She nearly did not make it into the world. 80150 was part of the last batch of five Standard 4 Tanks ever built. British Railways tried to cancel this build due to the impending dieselisation. However, the construction was so far advanced that this final batch had to be completed.
History of Steam Locomotive 80150
At the end of 1956, a brand new steam locomotive 80150 emerged. She was initially based at Brighton before being allocated to Eastleigh . Here, she would make regular trips over what is now the Mid Hants Railway. After a short working life of 9 years, she was withdrawn in 1965 and sold for scrap to Woodham Brothers of Barry, South Wales. There she languished, rusting away by the sea, a sad monument to the era of steam.
Barry Locomotive Scrapyard
Many Barry locomotives left for pastures new over the years. The burgeoning railway preservation movement led to 80150 being stripped of many parts to assist in the restoration of some of her sister locomotives. She was left as a shell, even suffering the indignity of losing her cab roof and smoke box door and surround.
Some 22 years after arriving at Barry scrap yard, 80150 was one of the final 10 steam locomotives to remain there and which became know as the ‘Barry Ten’. Eventually she was acquired by the Vale of Glamorgan Council for The Vale of Glamorgan Railway located at Bute Road Station, Cardiff. Many of the ‘Barry Ten’ were dismantled and their parts used for new build locomotives. Our champion, 80150, hung in there doggedly!
Due to redevelopment of the Cardiff Docks area the ‘Barry Ten’ were relocated to part of Barry Island Station. At one stage the locomotives were lined up by the platform and the opportunity taken for some cosmetic restoration to take place. Time was limited so only the platform side was painted on each of the Ten! Due to redevelopment of the Cardiff Docks area the ‘Barry Ten’ were relocated to part of Barry Island Station.
Following some excellent cosmetic work, 80150 headed back to Barry Island for storage.
Mid Hants Railway
A new twist in January 2011 saw 80150 arrive at Alresford, Hampshire. She was acquired by the Mid Hants Railway (MHR), known locally as the Watercress Line. The cosmetic work in Cardiff ensured the loco was in reasonable condition especially as she had not seen service since 1965. She remained in store down the headshunt at Alresford, viewed as a long term restoration project. The loco works at Ropley was already busy keeping the existing operational fleet running and restoring other locomotives acquired from Barry Scrapyard.
Friends of 80150
In 2016 there was a keen interest in 80150’s plight. A chance conversation in the Ropley mess room culminated in MHR volunteer and fireman Martin Orford forming a group called Friends of 80150. The intention was to refresh the cosmetic restoration of 80150 to save it from any further deterioration. The mission was also to gather as many missing parts as possible before the locomotive enters the Works at Ropley for restoration.
Missing Parts of 80150
The missing cab roof and the partial cab floor meant that parts of the rear bogie suffered the most from the elements over the years. The bogie had a habit of derailing at Woodham’s Yard on curves and point work. This was caused by missing springs resulting in poor weight distribution and exacerbated by the rear bogies’ side-control mechanism being seized. Work by the Friends of 80150 at Alresford, led by Martin Orford, has freed off the seized side-control mechanism.
Help from the 75079 team
At the Mid Hants Railway there is also a team working on steam locomotive 75079, a standard 4 4-6-0. This loco is also being restored from ex Barry condition. A set of 75079’s old springs were fitted to 80150 making it a moveable locomotive once again reducing the risk of derailment as suffered at Barry.
75079 and 80150 have many similar parts hence them being termed ‘Standard’ locos. The 75079 team kindly made new steps all round for 80150 and the loco now wears them proudly. Other parts for 80150 have, and will be, made too during their work on 75079.
Although the loco is covered by a tarpaulin, the elements are still finding their way in. In February 2018, an appeal was launched to raise £4,000 for a new cab roof and components. After a steady start the target was hit in an impressive ten weeks.
Parts are currently being made for the roof construction and this will not only improve 80150’s appearance but vitally help weather-proof the cab. A temporary cab floor is planned.
A vision for the future
Steam Locomotive 80150 worked on the Mid Hants Railway in British Railways days. Mid Hants driver and former Eastleigh fireman Bob Cartwright remembers working van trains with 80150 in the 1960s. These train carried watercress from Alresford so the history of the locomotive fits into the Mid Hants Railway perfectly. 80150 has another merit of being powerful and economical.
Do you think it will be great to see 80150 steaming up and down between Alton and Alresford again? Maybe even hauling a rake of vans down to Alresford for the annual Watercress Festival that the town holds…..now wouldn’t that be quite a sight?
The Friends of 80150 are aiming to get 80150 back doing what she should be doing and alas has not done since 1965! Let’s get that firebox glowing again.
Help with fundraising or volunteering
This is a guest post by Richard Bryan. If you would like to help the long term restoration of 80150 with a donation and/or help in the work being undertaken on an example of this very popular type of steam locomotive then please use the links below. The team would love to hear from you and share this great opportunity of helping to restore this remarkable survivor. What an achievement – one that you could look back on with pride when it’s operating and say “I helped return that to steam!”
You can also follow the progress on steam locomotive 80150 by joining our Facebook group – Friends of 80150.
If you would like to volunteer to help, please email Martin Orford at: [email protected]