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

A brief history of LBSCR No.78 Knowle BR No.32678
by Dr. Gerald Siviour

Knowle is eight years younger than Bodiam, having entered service on 23 July 1880. Between that date and the formation of the Southern Railway in 1923, ran an incredible total for a small engine of nearly a million miles.

For a short period in the early 1930s, it saw service on the lighter lines of the Isle of Wight, for which it was fitted with an extended bunker, becoming No.14 Bembridge.

On return to the mainland in 1936, it was reboilered and renumbered No.2678, joining the fleet of Terriers used on the Hayling Island branch until 1940, when it was sent on what proved to be an extended loan to the K&ESR.

Apart from brief trips away, such as a visit to Brighton works in 1949 following a derailment near Wittersham Road, No.32678 stayed at Rolvenden and, along with 32655, better known today as the Bluebell Railway’s Stepney, shared in the working of the last passenger trains on 02 January 1954. Even then, its association with the K&ESR did not end, for it frequently returned to pull goods trains or the occasional passenger special.

Closure of the Hayling Island branch finally ended its BR career and in 1964 it was sold to Butlins, becoming an exhibit in the children’s playground at Minehead. Here it had the illustrious company of Stanier Pacific No.46229 Duchess of Hamilton.

In 1975, a lengthy restoration began, first at Resco Railways in Woolwich and then at Rolvenden. This took many years to complete, but No.32678, now in BR lined black livery, was in service in time to take part in the re-opening of the K&ESR extension from Northiam to Bodiam in April 2001.

Now wholly owned by The Terrier Trust, who purchased it following an appeal, when the previous owner wished to sell, No.32678 is a regular performer on the line. In recent years, Knowle has paid visits to the Bluebell, Severn Valley, North Yorkshire Moors, Mid-Hants and most recently, the West Somerset. Wherever she works, 32678 attracts widespread attention because of its lively performance for such a diminutive engine.

Charity No. 1050480




Knowle - 32678 on holiday on the West Somerset Railway. Having run-round at Blue Anchor station, it now forms the 1105 departure for Minehead on 30 September 2004

Photograph Copyright 2005 H. Nightingale

Click here for scenes of Knowle - 32678 visiting the West Somerset Railway in 2004 taken by Ralph Tilley. Alternatively click on the Gallery Link in the navigation menu.