Photo, Arrival at the Bluebell Railway, 1979, S DESMOND

Early Days of the Society



The Society came into existence in March 1974 and started to raise money to buy Camelot from Woodham Bros. After several years, and several price increases, the money was raised and Camelot was bought in January 1979 for £8,100 (including VAT). The Bluebell Railway was chosen as Camelot's future home as they had already helped to obtain a suitable tender chassis from a South Wales steelworks - there were no Standard tenders remaining at Barry. Camelot was moved from Barry to the Bluebell in October 1979.



Photo, restored tender chassis, S DESMOND.


It was clear that the first task had to be the overhaul of the tender chassis, together with the construction of a new BR1B-pattern tender tank, this being the type of tender originally provided for Camelot when new. The chassis was duly overhauled - and straightened! - and re-railed in August 1984. Construction of the tender tank was contracted out to Shipyard Services of Brightlingsea and the new tank was delivered in February 1985 and lifted straight onto the restored chassis. The total cost of these two essential steps in the restoration programme was in excess of £10,000.

Attention was turned to the locomotive itself in mid-1985, the first task being to prepare the boiler for lifting, which took place on 4th November 1985. During 1986 work was concentrated on the boiler and by the end of the year the outside had been needle-gunned and painted and all the small tubes replaced with new. It was subsequently decided to replace the large superheater flue tubes as well.

On 14th March 1987 the final stage of dismantling was reached when the frames were lifted off the driving wheels and bogie. The frames and wheels were cleaned and painted, the tyres re-profiled and the axlebox guide liners ground and re-shimmed to give the correct clearances.

Once the frames had been re-wheeled pipework for the sanding system, cylinder lubrication, cylinder drain cocks and steam chest drain valves was fabricated and fitted into place. Work in 1993 concentrated on refitting the boiler to the chassis; this was achieved on 19th May. The boiler cladding was then completed and a new cab constructed. On 12th March 1994 Camelot entered the Bluebell's Locomotive Workshop for the final stages of the restoration programme. Entry into traffic took place on 28th October 1995, exactly 16 years since Camelot arrived at Sheffield Park from Barry.