The Bluebell Railway Trust purchased Class O1 No. 65 from the Lewis-Evans family securing the locomotive for the railway.
Built in 1896, Class O1 No. 65 is the very last surviving locomotive of the South Eastern Railway and was rebuilt in 1908 by the South Eastern and Chatham Railway. The locomotive was purchased from British Railways in 1963 by the Lewis-Evans family and brought to Bluebell Railway in 1997.
The Lewis-Evans family decided to sell No. 65 in the latter part of 2021 and had hoped that the Bluebell Railway would buy the locomotive as several other parties were also extremely interested in obtaining it.
The Bluebell Railway Trust is the charity that supports the railway and buying the locomotive means it is secured with the railway. Three locomotives are now owned by the trust, including Class C No. 592, Class H No. 263 and now Class O1 No. 65.
All three locomotives are perfectly suited to railway operations and when paired with their stock of vintage carriages create a breathtaking sight for those visiting the heritage railway. Locomotives are also in high demand for film work.
Terms of purchase are currently to be kept confidential, but it has been revealed that the amount paid for the locomotive was considerable due to its historic nature and value to the railway.
An article containing full information on the history of the O1 as well as information on how people can help by contributing to the cost of the locomotive will be published in the near future.