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3850 had its last day in service on 30th September 2015 before beginning a heavy overhaul.  The loco has run for 1202 days in traffic and covered 81,988 miles since entering service in March 2006  – all but 46 days of the service were on the West Somerset Railway, the other days being a visit to the Great Central Railway in 2011, a brief visit to the Gloucestershire Warwickshire (GWSR)  for a Gala in 2014 and a final few days back there in September to allow the volunteers some running time – plus the opportunity for some of our shareholders to have a short drive! The picture shows 3850  at Minehead in 2011 shortly after its repaint into black – photo by John Sparks

3850 in 2011 John Sparks

Pictured here is the “final fire” before withdrawal – appropriately this was lit and tended by the Vice Chairman of the Company (Mike Solloway) –  Mike was on the footplate for the first run back in 2006 and to make the day even more special he passed out as a qualified Fireman on the GWSR during his shift.

3850 Final Fire

The work of stripping her down has started in earnest and the parts are coming off thick and fast – superheater elements came out on 8th November and the last of the cladding was also removed that day – along with the cab roof.

This photo from October 2015 shows stripping activity – Mark Young is NOT running round the running-board despite appearances!

All boiler tubes have been removed and the boiler itself was lifted from the frames in early May.  Unfortunately we have found a fairly serious crack in our cylinder block and think it most likely that a replacement is  needed – we have already done some of the preparatory work to source a new casting.


A close up of the problem!

Preparation of the boiler for non-destructive testing and scoping of the works required is well underway with needle gunning at every opportunity – both inside and out


A view up the barrel – since this photo was taken the smoke box has been removed (though it was a struggle!)