Custodians of locomotives No 3 "Bodiam" and No 32678

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2015 Newsletter - Tenterden's Terrific Terriers!

2015 showed just how important the Trust’s two Terriers are to the Kent & East Sussex Railway, with the pair seeing more work than has been the case for several years.

Both 32670 and 32678 saw extensive action throughout the season which culminated with 32678 ably stepping in to cover failures of other steam locos on several days of the financially-crucial Santa Special season. December also saw the unlikely scenario of “Terrier Thunderbird Twins” with both locos on “hot standby” for the last few days of festive running as the line’s back-up diesel was again out of action.

In some ways, this echoed the way the season started as the locos were called on to provide a very cost-effective (and dare-we-say more popular) substitute when the Diesel Multiple Unit was unavailable for the whole of April.

A graffiti attack on the K&ESR’s superbly-restored Victorian coaches saw an unusual working in early May as 32678 hauled the DMU while the spray paint was removed from the historic carriages.

The late May Bank Holiday saw the Trust’s plucky pair star alongside visiting M7, 30053, and newly-repainted USA Tank, 30065, in the K&ESR’s “Southern Steam Sunset” gala. The Terriers at the head of recreated BR goods workings evoked memories of the line in the 1950s while their pairing with a parcels van and a couple of coaches BR(S) green conjured up the atmosphere of their former exploits on the Hayling Island branch.

Other notable outings included a lucrative filming contract for the BBC in February, a photocharter in October and hauling the Cavell Van for commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the execution of Nurse Edith Cavell in November.

The pair also saw extensive use throughout the summer with one or other of them working what has become their traditional two-trip diagram on many days – although in 2015 corridor stock was sometimes used instead of the vintage carriages.

In addition the two made a fine sight double-heading the prestigious Wealden Pullman train on no fewer than 7 Sundays when the K&ESR was unable to field a large locomotive. These workings alone meant the locomotives helped bring in over £50,000 of revenue that would have been lost had the line been forced to cancel the popular Sunday Luncheon services.

In all, the duo clocked up over 100 steaming days in 2015 and K&ESR Engineering Manager, Paul Wilson, reported to the Trust’s recent AGM that “As always, both machines are running well and doing the job for which they were intended.”

So what of 2016?

Indications are that the K&ESR’s large locomotive crisis will ease slightly in 2016 so the Trust’s locomotives probably won’t be used quite so intensively in the coming year.

“Bodiam” (32670) is now in the final few months of her 10 year ticket and the Trust hopes to arrange a suitable send off as it will be the last opportunity for a while to see two Terriers in BR black livery.

There is a steady stream of requests from other lines for one of these small but redoubtable locos to visit for special events or a short period of running and the Trust hopes it will be in a position to allow the K&ESR to accede to one or more of these requests this year so the Terriers can continue to earn vital revenue for the line.

2015 has seen the continuation of the K&ESR tradition of relying on Terriers that commenced when “Bodiam” arrived second-hand in 1900 and we are confident that this will continue throughout 2016 and beyond!