Chatham Historic Dockyard Railway
South Eastern & Chatham Railway 1558/1909 0-6-0T

This locomotive was constructed at Ashford Works and purchased by the South Eastern & Chatham Railway [SECR] at a cost of £1,835 in 1910 and allocated the number 558. By September 1910, it had been allocated to Ashford Shed for light passenger duties. In December 1912, it returned to Ashford Works to be equipped with motor-train gear, on returning to traffic it was allocated to Tonbridge Shed for the Westerham Branch services.

By July 1914, it was allocated to Battersea Shed for working the Victoria-St.Pauls, Victoria-Greenwich Park and Nunhead-Greenwich Park services. In January 1917, it was being used on the Swanley-Gravsend West services.

At the Grouping it entered Southern Railway stock and renumbered A558. On the 3rd January 1923, it entered Ashford Works for attention to its motor-train fittings before being despatched to the Isle of Sheppey for services between Sheerness and Leysdown.

In the summer of 1928, it was transferred to Wadebridge Shed for trials on the Wenford Bridge china clay services, but unfortunately the long coupled wheelbase took unkiindly to the many sharp curves and the class was rejected. It was then used on a series of trial runs on the Axeminster-Lyme Regis Branch, but again this was a failure. Eventually in the Autumn of 1928, it was allocated to Battersea Shed for use in the construction of the Wimbledon-Sutton Line.

In the Southern Railway's 1931 renumbering scheme it was renumbered 1558 and transferred to Folkstone, where it was used for shunting in the harbour area until January 1940 when it was transferred to Gillingham [Kent] Shed for working the Chatham Dockyard Branch and providing assistance within the Dockyard. By June 1945, it had returned to Folkstone.

Upon Nationalisation, it was renumberd 31558 and allocated to Dover Shed. In April 1950, it was transferred to Eastleigh Shed, but was little used before leaving again in August 1950 for Stewarts Lane. In March 1953, it again returned to Eastleigh but was so run down that little useful work was possible before being despatched to Ashford Works for a general repair. In mid-August 1953, it returned to Eastleigh and for the next few months it was regularly used on shunting duties at Winchester, but by December 1953, it had been laid aside in store. In May 1954 it was allocated to Brighton, until June 1955 when it was transferred to Stewarts Lane from where it was withdrawn in February 1960 and cut up at Ashford Works the same month.

S.E.C.R. 1558

S.E.C.R. P class 1558
© A. E. Bennett / Transport Treasury
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