DS238 Wainwright under overhaul

Wainwright under overhaul - 22 June 2013


No. 21 Wainwright (WD No. 1960, SR No. 70, BR Nos. 30070, DS238)

65 Maunsell waiting at Rolvenden 020509
No. 22 Maunsell waiting at Rolvenden - 2 May 2009


No. 22 Maunsell (WD No. 1968, SR No. 65, BR Nos. 30065, DS 237, WD300)

These American built shunting locomotives are two of 382 that were built for the United States Army Corps of Engineers during World War 2 for service overseas. The class saw service in England, North Africa, the Middle East, Italy and Western Europe after D-Day. Post-war, survivors were employed in a number of countries including France, Austria, Greece, Egypt, Palestine, Iraq and Yugoslavia.

After the war, the 42 members of the class which had been loaned to the War Department were placed in store at Newbury Racecourse station. 15 were purchased by the Southern Railway, at £2500 apiece,and 14 of them were put into service at Southampton Docks where their short wheelbase was well suited for working over the sharp curves around the dock lines. The SR found that several of the locomotives had not been steamed since their trial runs. The locomotives now on the K&ESR were War Department Nos. 1960 and 1968 and were put into service by the SR in April and November 1947 as Nos. 70 and 65 respectively.

They have been subject to various modifications for British conditions including ancillary equipment, bunker capacity and cab alterations for greater crew comfort. Despite these alterations the locomotives still had the appearance of typical American ‘switchers' with bar frames, no running plates, stove-pipe chimneys and sand domes. Outside valve gear and cylinders driving on to the rear axle are also distinctive features.

The USA tanks acquitted themselves well around Southampton Docks, their only major failing being a tendency to suffer hot bearings when running journeys of more than a few miles. Their dockside service lasted until 1962 when diesel shunters replaced them. The locomotives spent a while in store or were put on menial duties such as supplying steam to ships in dry-dock. In August 1963, however, No. 30070 was transferred to departmental stock, renumbered DS238 and sent to Ashford Wagon Works. It was painted green and named Wainwright after the SE&CR's first locomotive superintendent. The journey from Eastleigh to Ashford took a month to complete because of the inevitable hot box trouble encountered en route. No. 30065 was similarly transferred to Ashford in November 1963 as DS237, also painted green and named Maunsell after the Southern Railway's first Chief Mechanical Engineer.

The pair were kept busy at Ashford until April 1967 when DS237 was laid aside followed two months later by DS238. In March 1968 they were sold to Woodham's scrapyard at Barry in South Wales but, as usual, ran hot whilst under tow and did not get further than Tonbridge. There they remained on the site of the former locomotive shed until resold to the K&ESR in August 1968, arriving at Rolvenden a month later. DS238 became K&ESR No. 21 and DS 237 No. 22.

No. 22 was the first large locomotive in service in 1974, proving itself very capable of hauling five coach trains up Tenterden bank. She was fitted with an extended bunker and a improved lubrication to overcome its bearing problems. In 1978 it exchanged boilers with No. 21 and after overhaul re-entered service in April 1981 in black livery lined out in red. Various mechanical problems occurred and were overcome before the boiler certificate again expired and the locomotive was taken out of traffic at the end of the 1990 season. Another extensive overhaul followed, the locomotive re-entering service as Southern Railway No. 65 in the summer of 1997. Its original post-war livery of black with sunshine lettering was now carried. However by 2002 a new firebox was required. This was fitted and a further overhaul undertaken the engine returning to service in 2008. Withdrawn from service on 1st January 2017 when its boiler certificate expired. Now awaiting overhall.

After many years out of use, restoration work to No. 21 began in 1988. Wainwright entered traffic in 1994 as DS 238. Although finished in a correct malachite green livery, extensive modifications were made to the cab and bunker .In regular service she represented the railway at the 150th Anniversary of railways at the National Railway Museum , York in 2004, but was then withdrawn for a routine overhaul, which completed in late 2017 when the locomotive returned to service in LMR military livery as WD300.


Class: USA
Weight: 46 tons 10 cwt
Tractive effort: 21,600 lbs
Cylinders (2) 161/2 ins. dia. x 24 ins. stroke
Boiler pressure: 210 lbs.
Tank Capacity: 1000 gals
Wheels: 4ft. 6 ins. dia.