The engine has proved a remarkable workhorse for the South
Devon Railway. When you look at the size of the
engine without its side tanks you can understand the reaction
of some members that it wouldn't stand an earthly of running the service!
Over the years it has amazed everyone with the ease at which it copes.
56 miles with four or five carriages has been the usual days work. The
amount of coal and water consumed have remained low right through its ten
She went in traffic on 4th February 1996 when she ran
her first tentative trip to Staverton after an overhaul started in the
Total mileage for the South Devon Railway has amounted
to 22,766, with a further 1200 miles run on visits to other railways. The
'quietest' year was 1996 with only 1206 miles over 39 days and the busiest
year 2001 with 3404 miles over 77 days. 2005 saw it in use on 56 days for
2663 miles. Total days in use from 4th Feb 1996 to 20th November
2005 - 520 days.
1369 has proved to be a popular roving ambassador for
the SDR with hirings to the following heritage lines - Bodmin & Wenford
(3 times), Dean Forest, Bristol Harbour, Chinnor & Princes Risborough
(twice), Didcot, West Somerset (twice), Gwili, Middleton Railway and, most
recently, Severn Valley.
During this time she has suffered no serious breakdowns,
in fact apart from a couple of fractured springs which didn't cause her
to grind to a halt, an initial glitch with the felt pads in the axle boxes
and paint coming off the insides of the side tanks blocking the feed water
sieves to the injectors and clogging the injectors themselves, the engine
has proved virtually 100% reliable. All the crews that have worked with
her have expressed delight at the easy job she has given them. In fact
the General Manager has even been heard to remark that a couple more would
be just the ticket to keep the coal bill down!
Not surprising then that the intention is to return her
to traffic as soon as possible. This will probably depend on how fast the
boiler can be turned around. Whilst this had a new barrel last time round
plus a new front tubeplate, the outer firebox is now suffering from 'grooving'
around the foundation ring which will entail cropping off the bottom few
inches for replacement. She will return to traffic wearing Great Western
© South Devon Railway