Early Days & Main Line Service
No.7822 Foxcote Manor is one of the post-war batch of ten engines built at Swindon Works in 1950.This batch comprised completely new locomotives, although they do contain parts salvaged from other engines. The cost of 7822 including tender, was £10500. It was initially allocated to Oswestry (89A), for use over the Cambrian Routes in Wales to Aberystwyth and across the border to Whitchurch. In 1954 Foxcote Manor moved to Chester (84K), and began to haul trains through to Barmouth and Pwlheli. In the Autumn of 1958 the locomotive was again on Western Region metals back at Oswestry. Four years later in December 1962 saw a transfer back to Midland stock, followed by a move to Machynlleth (6F) in 1963. The Locomotive finished it's main line service at Shewsbury (6D) in 1965, being withdrawn in the November of that year, by which time it had covered an estimated 550,000 miles. 7822 spent much of its working life on the Cambrian Routes, and hauled the Cambrian Coast Express on several occasions. In the 1960's it was regularly seen at Crewe working up from the Borders. Two notable events occurred in 1963, when it was one of the engines to haul the Royal Train from Aberdovey to Chester and later that year, in August, it reached a speed of 73 mph between Wolverhampton and Shewsbury on a Chester bound train.
During it's 14 years BR service the locomotive paid ten visits to works for repair. The earliest was in June 1953 when after 107415 miles a heavy intermediate repair was carried out at Wolverhampton. Two years later at Swindon Works a heavy general was carried out at 195767 miles, followed by a further heavy intermediate repair in November 1957. In May 1958 the engine paid another visit to Wolverhampton where it had an unclassified repair. Two further visits to Swindon Works one in July 1960 for a heavy general at 356618 miles recorded, and a final visit in 1963 for a heavy intermediate repair.7822 had no less than five different boilers during it's working life, and worked it's way through the attachment of twelve tenders!
Foxcote Manor was withdrawn from service in November1965 and in the following year, along with seven other members of the class, it was sold to Woodham Bros. at Barry, where it was to remain for the next nine years. In 1972 the Foxcote Manor Society was formed, and after much fund raising activity the locomotive and tender of 7822 were purchased for £4500 in 1974. In January 1975 they were both moved to the Oswestry site of the Cambrian Railway Society.
The job of restoration was considerable, particularly the need to replace the non-ferrous items that had been stripped from it. Some £20000 was spent on these with an additional £15000 on the overhaul and repair of the boiler. After ten years of sustained effort in restoring the locomotive in the open air, the prospects of being unable to run at the restricted Oswestry site led the Society to consider a move elsewhere, and Llangollen was chosen. The move was made in 1985 and a purpose built shed was built on site in the Llangollen Goods Yard for restoration to be completed. An initial steaming was made in February1987, followed by a movement under it's own power in the September and a trial run on the 17th December of that year. A return to service was achieved with a commissioning train on the 9th April 1988. The total restoration costs came in at almost £60000.After nine years service and with the expiring of the boiler certificate imminent the decision was taken in 1997 to give 7822 a heavy general overhaul. The boiler was repaired at the Ian Riley Workshops in Bury, while most of the remainder of the work was done in-house at Langollen, between the engineering staff of the Railway and our own members. The overhaul took two years to complete, at a cost of almost £95000. A special re-commissioning excursion took place in August 1999, with the celebrated railway artist Phillip Hawkins, as the guest, unveiling his painting of Foxcote Manor aptly named "Pride of the Line".
7822 is owned by the Society, and is on hire to the Llangollen Railway where It has proved to be a popular and reliable engine, averaging approximately 3500 miles per year. Periodically the locomotive is hired out to other Preserved Railways, and is a firm favourite on the ever popular Footplate Experience Courses.
Foxcote Manor will be 52 years old in December 2002, and has steamed on the Llangollen Line almost as long as it spent in service on British Railway Metals. Quite an achievement.
Long may it continue to do so!