After World War II, the Southern Railway needed to replace ageing shunting engines at Southampton Docks. They decided to use the USATC built USA tanks.

No 30072 started life at the Vulcan Iron Works in 1943 as works number 4446. After 4 years, the Southern Railway bought and 14 others of its class renumbering it No 72. 

B.R. "U.S.A." CLASS 0-6-0 SIDE TANK No. 30072
At the end of World War 2, a number of American shunting locomotives of the United States Army's Transportation Corps were still stored in Britain and, in 1946, the Southern Railway bought fifteen for use at Southampton Docks. This locomotive, then numbered 72, was one of these, built by the Vulcan Ironworks, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania in 1943. It probably saw very little military service, though it was ferried to the Continent after D-day. After returning to England, these engines were stored at Newbury Racecourse station. This one was transferred to S.R. stock in April 1947. As British Railways No. 30072, it left Southampton in 1952, working for a short time on the London Midland Region at Willesden, then Cricklewood, before returning to Southampton, and then to Guildford, where it remained as shed pilot until withdrawn from service in July 1967. It was bought by a member in August 1967 whilst at Salisbury awaiting scrapping. Engines of this class also worked in Britain during 1943-45 and were widely used afterwards in France. Yugoslavia and Greece - examples in the last two countries being used as late as 1980. The American equivalent of the Hunslet 0-6-0 saddle tank produced by the British Ministry of Supply (see locomotive "Free). No. 30072 is a typical American switcher with bar frames, no running plate, three "domes" on the boiler and a stovepipe chimney. Other features rarely seen on British shunting locomotives are the outside valve gear and cylinders driving onto the rear axle. Together with No. 41241, this engine had the distinction of hauling the reopening train on the Worth Valley branch line in June 1968. After a number of modifications, such as a larger coal bunker, No.72 in American livery) became one of the most frequently used K.W.V.R. locomotives up to 1973. In 1976, it was converted to oil-firing, but changed back again to coal fuel in 1987. The engine gained a British Railways boiler certificate and. in May 1988, went by road to the 150th Anniversary celebrations of the London & South Western Railway at Woking, where it was used on a passenger shuttle-train. This gained it the distinction of being the first steam passenger working on the Southern Region east of Basingstoke for over 20 years.
Vulcan Ironworks No.4446; U.S.Arrny No.1973; S.R. No.72; B.R. No.30072.

At nationalisation, 30 000 was added to the number (as was customary for southern engines), and it stayed at Southampton. In 1962, its duties were taken over by diesel shunting engines and No 30072 was moved to Guildford (70C) shed. On 9 July 1967, it was moved to Salisbury for storage, from where it was bought.

When at the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, it hauled the re-opening special with 41241. It operated as an oil-burning locomotive from 1976 to 1987. No 30072 is currently on display in the museum at Preston, requiring extensive firebox repairs and a major overhaul.
30072 was in August 2015 purchased by Andy Booth (the current owner of L&YR Class 27/1300) and is planned to be overhauled in time for the 50th anniversary of the opening of the KWVR in 2018. It is planned for the engine to be overhauled at the Ribble Steam Railway, she is then to return on loan to the railway upon completion.

© Ribble Steam Railway 2017

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