Bonnie Prince Charlie was built by Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns in 1949 (Works No. 7544) and entered service with Messrs. Corrall Ltd. The locomotive initially worked in Poole at Corrall's Ballast Wharf in Hamworthy and then, from 1965, at Corrall's depot on Dibles Wharf in Southampton. ‘BPC’ was purchased for preservation by the Salisbury Steam Trust in 1969 and came to Didcot shortly afterwards where he saw a couple of periods of use before being restored again for the 1985 season. In that year the sight, and sound, of him pulling Blue Peter out of one of the shed roads at Didcot, against an unhelpful curve and gradient had to be seen to be believed.
Since then he was painted blue and has been fitted with a vacuum brake and has seen use on passenger duty. This actually makes quite an interesting sight as the engine is that much smaller than the auto coach he normally hauls. It's quite interesting for the driver as well, as you have to lean out a fair way to see round the coach when propelling. He is an interesting engine to crew at Didcot, with power to weight ratio over in the power department thus making him quite able to haul heavy loads, as long as the rails are dry or the driver is very careful!
More recently the engine was overhauled once more and returned to traffic in a green livery, but is now ‘out of ticket’ and awaiting a further overhaul.
Stay up to date with events and what's going on at Didcot Railway Centre.
You may unsubscribe at any time. We do not share your data with 3rd parties.