Upon opening, the 3-foot gauge Southwold Railway took delivery of three 2-4-0T tank engines built by Sharp, Stewart & Co. Ltd – affectionately known as “Sharpies”. They were supplied on hire purchase and named as follows; No.1 Southwold, No.2 Halesworth and No.3 Blyth. [No.1 was returned as ‘surplus to requirements’ after a few years, only to be replaced a few years later with a 2-4-2T with the same name and number.]

Virtual model of Blyth

Here at the Southwold Railway Trust we are constructing a replica of No.3 Blyth – the only original locomotive that was in service throughout the whole 50 years of the railway’s operation. Blyth is a key part of our Heritage Train Project to re-create a complete mixed train such as those running on the line upon opening in 1879.

As we were working from the 19th century general arrangement drawing, it has been necessary to re-design this locomotive almost from first principles: this long and expensive process is now complete, proving an up-to-date 3D Solidworks CAD of the entire loco. A change to the boiler design, to allow us the widest possible range of options for the build, has also been done.

A £300,000 contract for the construction of Blyth has now been placed with North Bay Engineering Services Ltd. who are based in Darlington, a town with a proud railway heritage. The boiler is the first component to be manufactured, followed by the rolling chassis, cylinders, motion etc. Progress can be followed by regular updates on the Blog and our Facebook page.

Funding permitting, Blyth could be completed by the end of 2020 to run initially on our demonstration line in Southwold and on our goal of a revived railway linking Southwold and Halesworth in the future.

Originally funded by the ‘2-4-0 Club’ – with sponsorship available for individual components – we have now made it even more simple for you to contribute towards this exciting project. Just click below to find out how you can help us return narrow gauge steam in Suffolk to where it rightly belongs!

If you would like to help us build Blyth please click the Donate button below to send us a contribution through PayPal or, if you prefer, you can donate by making regular payments by Standing Order or Direct Debit. If you wish to donate using either of the two latter methods, please contact our Treasurer, Nick Evans, on info@southwoldrailway.co.uk