BR Riddles 4MT 75069
BR Standard 4MT
Owned by the 75069 Fund, this is a BR standard class 4, designed by Robert Riddles. Built in 1955 at Swindon works (by then under BR control), the standard 4s were mixed-traffic locomotives. 75069 was built for the Southern Region with a larger BR1B tender to allow for greater coal and water capacity, the latter important as the SR did not have water troughs from which to refill the tender en route. A 60ft long 4-6-0, with a 26.7 sq ft fire grate, 75069’s maximum working boiler pressure is 225psi. Eighty were originally outshopped, of which only six survived into preservation, half of which are currently operational.
Although only in service for just over a decade, 75069 was allocated to several depots, entering service at Dover Marine in 1955, then moving briefly to Bournemouth before a stint working out of Stewarts Lane, followed by allocation to Nine Elms. In 1965, the locomotive was allocated to Eastleigh before being withdrawn in 1966, after 11 years of service, and sent to Barry scrapyard.
For seven years, 75069 languished in the open air until it was rescued in 1973 by the 75069 Fund, which had formed in 1971 with the express purpose of saving the locomotive. Once saved, the process of fundraising for the restoration of the locomotive began. As this included retubing the boiler, it was no small task and 11 years later, the restoration was completed just in time for the locomotive (still in undercoat!) to take part in the September 1984 Enthusiasts Weekend.
Over the next decade, 75069 steamed regularly on the SVR, as well as carrying out mainline duties on charter services, including frequent appearances on the Red Dragon (between south Wales and the south west), the Cambrian and even participating in the GWR 150 celebrations, despite its Southern pedigree. Withdrawn with a cracked firebox flange in 1994, 75069 remained in storage until 2013, when a heavy overhaul of the locomotive began. This extensive five-year project saw much of 75069’s key components replaced and was completed at the end of 2018, at a cost of more than £900,000 and 25,000 hours of combined staff and volunteer effort