3MT 82045

Standard Class 3MT
Photo courtesy of Boxbrownie3 on Flickr, all rights reserved

What is it?
This is a very different project to the big mainline engines like the A1 and the Patriot (an overview of that coming later this month). The intention here is to build a locomotive specifically for use on preserved railways: in truth, most preserved lines are branch lines, and while it’s enjoyable to see great big express engines on them, these locomotives are really oversized for the lines, not to mention very expensive to run. Reliable medium-sized engines are more suited to these lines, and this will be one such: a 3MT tank engine, designed by Riddles as one of the standard classes for British Railways after nationalisation. There are numerous other standard tanks still around, mostly larger 4MT engines, but the 3MT variation did not survive into preservation.

A future article will look at the business models of these projects: the builders of 82045 reason that the existing fleet of preserved steam engines are all, at the very least, 50 years old, many getting on for or over 100. They are well-maintained and cared for, but ultimately machines of this age cannot be kept running reliably forever: supplementing them with new engines will take some of the pressure off them, and allow them to be kept in lighter use for longer. That’s the theory, anyway – will the financial side of things stack up and make these smaller new build projects viable?

It will be some years before we find out – the group hope to have frames and wheels maybe by 2012-13, with the rest to follow in subsequent years. The project suffered a setback early in 2011 when thieves broke into premises on the Severn Valley Railway and stole the stock of copper that was earmarked for use on this locomotive among others. Let’s hope they can bounce back.

Status [corrected]: chassis very near to completion – a few stretchers to fit and smokebox saddle being fabricated. Motion, cylinders and wheels will be next focus.

Possible completion date: not given

Website: http://www.82045.org.uk/



  1. Smokebox saddle and front pony truck bearing support assembly installed yesterday.
    The next major items to be fixed to the frames include Hornblocks (in stock) and Motion Brackets (awaiting casting and machining).
    Spring Bracket and Brake Hanger Bracket to be manufactured shortly.

  2. Thanks for the kind words Barbara, and also for correcting us so politely! The article has now been amended. I did go through all the various project websites trying to get the most up-to-date information, but obviously didn’t succeed this time – apologies for that.

  3. Interesting and a good way for all interested in new builds to keep up with progress. Your status report on 82045…. “Status: some components machined, eg pony truck centres; frames and boiler not in existence yet” is far from accurate though. As we enter the spring of 2011 the chassis of 82045 is all but complete. There are a few more stretchers to be fitted, but we have them, and the fabrication of the smokebox saddle is well under way in Sheffield and when in place will complete the chassis. We will be concentrating on motion, cylinders and wheels next. Our website is updated monthly.

  4. An interesting observation re the size of locos currently on what are generally branch lines, although some preserved lines did see heavy engines and express locos on their metals in the past. As to how long they can be maintained though, that is another question entirely…

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