Published: 13-08-2014 photo #21258 0 comments 0 votes
Photographed in Sheffield Park station of the Bluebell Railway on 26 July 2014.
Delivered as 323 and running trials in the Ashford works, where it was built, by 26 April 1910. The P Class were designed for rail motor work on branch lines, however they were found to be too small for working the push-pull trains for which they were designed.
An interesting feature is the ‘pagoda’ roof, overhanging the cab sides to keep the rain off. Initially painted in passenger green, and allocated to Orpington shed. However in 1916 the livery was replaced by unlined grey with large numerals in zinc white.
Allocated to Tonbridge shed by Armistice Day in November 1918, and working between Hastings and Rye from September 1919 until that service ceased in 1921. By January 1923 it was working the Otford to Sevenoaks service, continuing until the line was electrified. By 1926 it was at Dover shed, and during a major overhaul at Ashford Works between August 1926 and January 1927 was renumbered as Southern Railway A323, repainted in lined green.
During a further general overhaul at Ashford Works in 1931, new cylinders were fitted, and the number 1323 applied.
After further moves and some time in storage, by 10 February 1949 it had become BR no. 31323 ending up being withdrawn from Dover shed on 9 July 1960, having completed 564,623 miles. It then became the second locomotive in the Bluebell Railway fleet in June 1960. It also visited the East Somerset Railway for four years between 1980 and 1984. After some technical problems, 323 returned to service in Spring 2011, when it attended the 'Branch Line Weekend' celebrations. It is currently painted in 'Bluebell Blue' with the BRPS crest on the side tanks.
See also, for example, pictures 15251 and 20755.