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5637 STEAM
LOCOMOTIVE GROUP

 
 

SOMERSET

 
                 
 

 

The locomotive was then transferred to the ESR in July 1998 where it finished its running in. 5637’s restoration was finally completed when it was painted in its 1925 Great Western livery at the ESR in February 1999.

When 5637 was first restored it was fitted with a GWR type ejector, which was fine for two coaches on the S&CR. However, when the loco moved to the ESR the ejector was unable to cope with five coaches and the ESR’s 21” ejector had to be fitted. There were various unsuccessful attempts to get a GWR type ejector working since but without success. Apart from it looking “wrong”, the 21” ejector obscures the driver’s view ahead.

5637 worked more or less continuously at the ESR for nine years with a couple of breaks for fairly major boiler repairs. In November 2002 a number of boiler tubes had failed and it was decided to fit a complete set of new tubes. Following this failure the Loco Department introduced a more comprehensive boiler water treatment programme to reduce boiler wear and tear, especially to tubes and stays.


Photo: Paul  Lockley
SLG founder Ken Watts marks the completion of 5637's 17 year restoration
watched by Chairman Paul Thicke and Treasurer Hazel Watts

Following the retubing in 2002 the locomotive was repainted into BR Black with an early crest to meet the ESR’s requirements.

In 2003 it was discovered that the safety valve casting was defective with leaks and cracks and unfit for use. However the 6695 Group and then the 2807 Group came to our aid and lent 5637 their safety valves. A new safety valve was eventually purchased from the Severn Valley Railway.

Though it has been based at the ESR since 1989, 5637 has made short visits to a number of other railways including the Severn Valley Railway, Barrow Hill, the West Somerset Railway, the Llangollen Railway and the Mid Hants Railway.

It was during the loco’s return from the Mid Hants line in September 2004 when being unloading from a lorry trailer the rear right hand driving wheel dropped about two inches. This does not sound much but unfortunately the axle load at that point is nineteen tons and the shock load shattered the main spring and was transferred into the firebox where around twenty steel stays then sheared off on the steel plate side.

Thankfully the incident was witnessed by East Somerset Railway staff and they were able to claim on the Transport Company’s insurance. The repairs and return to service took nearly six months and cost in the region of £30,000

The loco’s boiler certificate expired in 2007 and over the next three years 5637 underwent a complete overhaul. It has now returned to service in its third livery since restoration, BR lined green.

Since it's overhaul 5673 has made two further short visits to other railways, a 'home' visit to the Swindon & Cricklade Railway and a visit to the  Pontypool and Blaenavon Railway.

5637 has continued to run reliably at the East Somerset Railway and in early 2016 a complete re-tube was carried out.

 
         

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