03189 is a close relative of our other BR Class 03 on site, D2148. ‘189s long career on the main line drew to a close when the loco was withdrawn from it’s service at Birkenhead on 16th March 1986 after 03 170 had returned from Swindon Works.

The only issue with the loco was her batteries being life-expired. After a failed sale into industrial use, ‘189 moved to Norwich to assist other ailing 03’s, but her lack of air train brakes prevented her taking up station pilot duties, so the loco was sent to March in Cambridgeshire for storage. In 1991, the loco was put up for sale with 03 084 and 03 158. The loco moved to Southport in December of that year.

Upon arrival there, a detailed list was drawn up to document the missing parts of the loco, but the fact that the loco had only worked 3000 miles since her last general overhaul at Doncaster in June 1980 meant that great hope was held out for the project to restore ‘189 to her former glory. In 1993, a number of cab components were obtained in conjunction with another 03 owner, when the cab of 03 389 was offered for sale. The wheels currently fitted came off 03 389, and her own original wheels are now under 03 069 after the Doncaster overhaul.

The loco arrived in Preston on 17th April 1999 along with other exhibits from Southport, and further investigations into the loco’s restoration began thereafter. A number of engine components were still required, and the opportunity to purchase a complete Gardner 8L3 engine from a decommissioned fishing boat came along, however, after waiting for twelve months for the engine to arrive, it appeared it had been exported for use in the Far East. In early 2004, another chance to purchase a replacement unit from a Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0DM locomotive, and a sale was agreed in April 2004 – the engine finally arriving on site 20 months later!

Photo:  Gordon Edgar

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