standard tank 80064
Michael L. Roach
Small prairie 5532 was completed in June 1928 one of a hundred of the class of 2-6-2s built between February 1927 and February 1929. 5532 was one of the lucky ones as it escaped the cutters torch and entered the preservation world after a spell in Barry Scrapyard. 5532 went new to Stourbridge Shed, was at Pontypool Road at Nationalisation and ended its days at Laira where it was shedded from December 1959 until withdrawn from service on 10 July 1962 and sold to Woodham Brothers at Barry on on 4 September 1962. The recorded mileage was 705,111 which was a lot less than 5521 seen in Part 55. The last time I saw 5532 working was on 3 March 1962 when it was hauling the return Launceston goods through Shaugh Bridge Halt.
5532 left the scrapyard at Barry in 1981 after more than 18 years there and went to the Dean Forest Railway to be a source of spares for other small prairies there, but later went to the Llangollen Railway where restoration is still proceeding 40 years after leaving Barry. Although much has been done to overhaul 5532, the engine has yet to run under its own power. The engine's own website, 5532.co.uk, indicates that restoration will take at least another three years to accomplish.
The engine came to prominence when it was one of the engines rostered to work between Bristol and Frome on the last day of passenger services which was Saturday 31 October 1959. It was then no longer needed at Westbury Shed where it had been based for the previous six months and was sent west to Laira Shed in November 1959 where it worked passenger and freight trains on the Tavistock and Launceston Branch and other local trains. 5532 may not have got a lot of use during its last few months at Laira as I only saw it working four times in the 12 months between April 1961 and March 1962.
MLR / 14 December 2023