BR Standard Class 5 73096

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BR Standard Class 5 73096
Steam locomotive - 73096 - at Virginia Water station - 280404.jpg
73096 at Virginia Water station
Type and origin
Power type Steam
Builder Derby Works
Build date November 1955
Tender type BR1C
Operators British Railways
Power class 5MT
Numbers 73096
Withdrawn 30 November 1967
Disposition Under Overhaul at the Southall Railway Centre
73096 at the Severn Valley Railway in 2003
73096 at Alresford station
73096 arriving at Alton station

British Railways Standard Class 5 No. 73096 is a preserved British steam locomotive. Unnamed in service, it is currently undergoing overhaul at the Southall Railway Centre.

BR Operation[edit]

73096 was built at the Derby Works in November 1955[1] and was used on the London Midland and Western Regions of British Railways.[1] It was withdrawn from service in November 1967, and sold to Woodham Brothers scrapyard based in Barry, South Wales.[1]


Rescued from the scrapyard in July 1985 by Hampshire-based businessman John Bunch,[1] 73096 was returned to service in October 1993 by the Mid-Hants Railway on the Watercress Line,[1] following major boiler overhaul[1] and the construction of a new tender ,[1] based on the chassis from a Jubilee class tender, to a to BR1G style.[1][2]

Operated on the Watercress Line between Alresford and Alton. In its new lease of life, 73096 has been temporarily disguised as 73080 Merlin[1] and as 73054,[1] for special events and commemorations.

In September 2011, the boiler certificate expired and 73096 was consequently withdrawn from service. It left the Mid-Hants for Southall in late 2015.

Cylinder failure[edit]

The engine suffered over £200,000 worth of damages during the 14 March 2009 Spring Steam Gala services on the Mid-Hants Railway. Whilst on the first Alresford to Alton service of the day, 73096 suffered major damage to its left-hand (driver's-side) cylinder at Wander's Curve in the Ropley to Medstead section, about ¾ of a mile from Ropley station. It is thought a piston core-plug worked loose thus causing much damage to the cylinder covers, cylinder, piston and piston-rod plus other equipment in the area. There is no evidence that this was caused by priming (water in the cylinders, which can cause similar catastrophic failures) and, currently (March 2009), the crew are absolved of any blame.

No damage was done to the track or signalling, but No. 73096 blocked the line for some time. Shuttle services were quickly organised between Alresford and Ropley and between Alton and Medstead, until the line could be cleared. Parts of the steam locomotive's 'motion' (connecting rod, valve gear linkages etc.) on the driver's side had to be removed by MPD staff to allow the locomotive to be moved. As the 5MT was unable to move under its own power, a diesel locomotive was dispatched from Ropley engine shed to retrieve it. The Gala thereafter continued with a revised timetable.

A replacement cylinder casting was required, necessitating a new pattern made. As of the week commencing 9 August 2010, the locomotive was running again, hauling services on the line masquerading as Henry during the 'Day Out With Thomas' event.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Alan C Butcher (1996). Mid-Hants Railway in colour. ISBN 0-7110-2465-0. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Std 5 #73096 left hand cylinder". Watercress Line. 17 March 2009. Archived from the original on 1 April 2009. 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]