Following the Severn Valley Railway’s recent Spring Steam Gala, No. 41312 and Southern Region Battle of Britain class Locomotive no. 34081 “92 Squadron” will both be operating alongside No. “34027 Taw Valley” for the Severn Valley Railway’s Southern Sunset weekend which takes place on March 25th & 26th. The other Southern Region Battle of Britain class Pacific Locomotive normally at the Severn Valley Railway “No.34053 Sir Keith Park” is currently travelling to Swanage Railway for their “Strictly Bulleid” event.
The Southern Region Battle of Britain class locomotive 34053 “Sir Keith Park” is named after Air Chief Marshal Sir Keith Rodney Park, GCB, KBE, MC & Bar, DFC who was a New Zealand soldier, First World War flying ace and Second World War Royal Air Force commander and was in operational command during two of the most significant air battles in the European theatre in the Second World War, helping to win the Battle of Britain and the Battle of Malta. It arrived at Woodham’s scrap yard in Barry in 1966 it wasn’t until 1979 Charles Timms bought the loco, but it was June or July 1984 before it left Barry arriving at Hull Dairycoates depot in November It was the 153rd loco out of a total of 213 rescued from Barry. Also purchased was the tender of 35006. It was restored at Hull under the supervision of Tom Tighe. The bogie and pony truck were removed and sent to Swindon in February 1988 to the former Swindon Works wheel lathe, and the boiler lifted from the frames for restoration. Many parts such as running boards, smoke deflectors etc were ordered. in 1992 Mr Timms died and the loco was sold, together with available parts, to Dr John F Kennedy and moved to the Railway Age at Crewe.
In 1995 the loco moved to Thingley junction and was sold to Jeremy Hosking for use as spare parts for Braunton and moved to Bishops Lydeard on the West Somerset Railway in January 1997 and was moved by rail from Bishops Lydeard to Williton on 22nd February 1997. During the summer of 1997, the boiler tubes were removed. Southern Locomotives purchased the Locomotive when it was deemed surplus to requirements. 34053 left Williton on 22nd December 2000 to arrive at Sellindge on 28th December 2000. Finally after an eventful restoration In 2010 Sir Keith Park had the coupling rods reinstalled, The running boards, new cylinder and valve liners were fitted, the slide bars are in place and main springs were mounted Withdrawn in 1965, and over 30 years since it was first bought for preservation, 34053 Sir Keith Park finally returned to service in 2012, after a break of 48 years and the loco travelled by low-loader to the Severn Valley Railway. After some weeks of testing and adjustments it entered passenger service in August 2012.