This loco, and No 10, have chequered history in terms of their construction. Originally ordered from, and started by Davey Paxman (who built the original locos for the railway), building then continued at New Romney using boilers from Krauss in Munich. Designed from drawings originated by Greenly, completed by A.L.S Richardson and based on Canadian Pacific practice, in the end the Yorkshire Engine Company of Meadowhall, Sheffield finished the job of building this loco by finally assembling the parts and delivering the loco, together with No 10, in 1931.
The Canadian style was chosen by Howey as it was felt that the larger cab would give the driver better protection against some of Kent’s fine summer weather, than the British styled locomotives. He was also a fan of and visitor to, and regular footplate passenger on, the Canadian Pacific Railway. When the engine emerged onto the RH&DR she came complete with a very ‘American’ Vanderbilt tender and was named Doctor Syn, after the Dymchurch smuggling-vicar created by Russell Thorndyke.
In 1948, having been renamed Winston Churchill after the war-time Prime Minister, she was sent to an exhibition in Toronto, Canada. At this time she was painted bright red, but in 1962 she received a black coat of paint and a new tender. The original, although stylish, was prone to leaking.
As an experiment Winston Churchill was converted to an oil firing loco in 1973, but was rebuilt conventionally in 1979. The experiments were successful, but a rise in the price of oil meant that no savings would be made over coal.
She carries one of a pair of Crosby chime whistles that Howey had bought in Canada, and had impressed Nigel Gresley on a visit to the RH&DR. Howey then presented Gresley with the second whistle which in turn was fitted to the new LNER express Cock o’ the North.
She has just undergone (2013) an in-house Major Overhaul, complete with new power cylinders and a brand new tender body. Her current colour is bright red, similar to how she looked during the 1970’s though a slightly deeper shade and with brass boiler bands overpainted black. For a period she had lost her boiler handrails but happily these have now been restored.
Canadian outline two-cylinder 4-6-2 Pacific locomotive.
Designed by Henry Greenly and A.L.S. Richardson.
Built by Yorkshire Engine Company (2294) in 1931
Overall length 28′
Weight in working order 8 ton 15cwt
Driving wheel diameter 2′ 1.5″
Bogie and trailing wheel diameter 1′
Cylinders 5.25″ bore x 8.5″ stroke
Current Livery: Red