Bodiam as 32670 pilots a train at Newmill Bridge in October 1985 picture copyright H.Nightingale




A brief history of K&ESR No.3 Bodiam – BR No.32670
by Dr. Gerald Siviour

This is the second oldest of the surviving LBSCR Stroudley Terriers, having been built at Brighton works in December 1872 as one of the first group of the class. The Bluebell Railway’s No.72 Fenchurch also came from this batch, entering service just before Bodiam. The original name of No.70 was Poplar, reflecting that the class were mainly intended for work on the East London line.

After nearly 30 years, the engine was sold to Mr. Holman Fred Stephens for use on the newly opened Rother Valley Railway, which changed its name to the more familiar Kent & East Railway three years later in 1904. This railway remained the engine’s home for most of the time until closure of the line in 1954. Originally painted in blue livery, it spent much of its time in green until painted black by BR. The engine was never owned by the Southern Railway and carried the number 3 until BR renumbered it 32670 in 1948.

After the closure of the K&ESR to passenger services, No.32670 travelled quite widely, seeing much service on the Havant to Hayling Island branch, where Terriers were the only engines permitted due to severe weight restrictions on Langstone Bridge. At the ripe old age of 88, it received a general overhaul in 1960, but closure of the branch in 1963 brought its final withdrawal from BR services.

At this time, moves were afoot to re-open the K&ESR as a preserved railway, and in 1964 Bodiam returned to its old home in the ownership of the Wheels brothers of Brighton. It saw two periods of service at Tenterden in the late 1970s and mid-1980s but in 1985 was withdrawn needing a new boiler

After standing derelict at Rolvenden for a decade, the Tenterden Railway Company, owners of the K&ESR, and the newly formed Terrier Trust bought the engine and entered into an agreement to finance an overhaul. This involved TRC paying for the new boiler and the Trust taking on chassis repairs, which were carried out by Ian Riley of Bury, Lancashire.

At long last, the overhaul is nearly complete, having cost over £100,000. Following running-in, Bodiam will be once again turned out in the blue livery which it first carried when it first came to Tenterden in 1901 and the totally reconditioned locomotive should be a feature of the K&ESR Victorian/Vintage train for many years to come.

Charity No. 1050480





No.3 Bodiam as 32670 waits at Tenterden Town to work the 1200 service train of
17 November 1985. Viewed from the signal box

Photograph Copyright 2005 H. Nightingale