The Colonels Terriers

Bodium in the 1920's

The Terrier had its origins in the need to save costs at a time of great economic depression; when William Stroudley on the London Brighton & South Coast Railway introduced one of the earliest locomotive standardisation policies in 1870, which followed a regime of chaotic individualism pursued by his predecessor, John Chester Craven. The primary motive power requirement was to serve the great surge in the expansion of London, as commuting and the suburban railway developed. The light track of the recently opened South London and East London lines called for a special, light locomotive with matching featherweight coaches.

Drawing partly on his earlier design for an engine constructed for his previous employers, the Highland Railway, Stroudley produced a robust and well-constructed locomotive classified appropriately the A (later A1). This made a strong initial impact on both the travelling public, footplate staff and the technical press and gave a sparkling performance with considerable savings in fuel and maintenance. Their distinctively snub and friendly appearance based on neat design, particularly of chimney and cab, was a great credit to their designer. Almost immediately the press was reporting that these engines had been christened "The Terriers" although to Victorian enginemen, "Rooters" was the more common expression. With their bright yellow Stroudley livery they continued to dominate the lines for which they were built, enlivening both the murky working class depths of the tunnels of the East London line and the then middle class suburbs of Peckham, Brixton and Clapham with their snap and sparkle.

By 1880 fifty engines had been built, but by 1898 the London and Brighton South Coast had decided that these engines were too small, so they sold 15 and scrapped 11. However, with the success of the rail motor concept of light supplementary trains of one Terrier-powered coach, from 1905 onwards their numbers stabilised. The general utility of the engines caused Douglas Earle Marsh to produce a modernised boiler with a drumhead smokebox that changed the appearance of the front end of the locomotives considerably. The resultant engine, reclassified A1X, was if anything an even better looking locomotive than before.

Those engines laid aside were found to be of great utility to light railways and contractors, and Stephens was in the queue. Rother Valley Railway (later K&ESR) No 3, Bodiam , was his first purchase and eight more were to follow by 1937. No doubt there would have been more, but with limited availability because of its success on motor trains till they were discontinued in WW1 service cutbacks, Stephens had to pick up his Terriers as and when he could. Their history is quite complex.

Of all the locomotives on Colonel Stephens' lines, one type fixes in the memories of enthusiasts: the small ex London Brighton and South Coast Railway 0-6-0Ts known as Terriers. These extremely pretty, lightweight and competent locomotives became associated with Stephens' lines, and particularly the Kent & East Sussex Railway, almost continuously from their inception to the present day. In all, Stephens and his successors purchased eight Terriers, hired several more and were probably instrumental in the purchase of one other.

Bodium in dark green livery

Terrier on mixed train. KESR

KENT & EAST SUSSEX RAILWAY (originally Rother Valley Railway)

Stephens' K&ESR owned two Terriers, becoming No 3 Bodiam and No 5 Rolvenden respectively. Both were from the original batch of six engines, four of which eventually came to Stephens' railways. Rolvenden, the former LB&SCR No 71, had the honour of being the first Terrier built. Bodiam, although having the first number of the batch as LB&SCR 70, was actually the last, having bequeathed her cylinders to 71, when a faulty casting had delayed her introduction into service (strange how these sisters were twinned from birth). Bodiam was bought by the, then, Rother Valley before the Board meeting of 6 March 1901 when its purchase for £650 (using a £500 Barclays Bank Loan) was reported though  for some reason it was still at Brighton on 23 May and is generally accepted to have arrived that month .Rolvenden is reported to have arrived in February 1905 although the £700 due to the LB&SCR was not paid till 9 May 1905 (again with a Barclays loan of £600 this time) so delivery was more likely after that date; perhaps accounting for its numbering after No 4 Hecate which had arrived on 11 May. Both engines were painted in Stephens' favourite blue livery with red lining, but without a polished dome. With regular overhauls, including that of Bodiam at Eastleigh in 1919 and Rolvenden at Brighton in 1917, they gave excellent service until the depression years. They were as alike as two peas for much of their lives together even to the near simultaneous acquisition of three rail coal bunker extensions( the LB&SCR extensions had four); the only later difference being a long-strapped AIX type door carried by Rolvenden, probably acquired at Brighton. Although the two Ilfracombe goods engines acquired in 1910 and 1914 became the favoured main line engines, the Terriers were the mainstay of the line in the Edwardian era, and much used thereafter.

Both engines seem to have received their last partial re-tube in late 1928, with Bodiam falling into disuse around the time of the railways receivership in 1931 (There is photographic evidence of her apparently in steam questionably dated as 12 th September that year). Rolvenden seems to have lasted a little longer. They were then dumped in the works yard but Bodiam was resurrected in 1933 and repaired over the next two years, mainly by a Southern railway fitter at weekends. Although much reported, there is hard little evidence, apart from anecdotal, to suggest that she incorporated many major parts from her sister, except possibly her tanks. However some Terrier parts most certainly came from the Shropshire & Montgomeryshire Terriers mentioned below. In the process Bodiam acquired her enlarged and distinctive bunker. Re-entering service on 27 th December 1934, she was repainted in a bright apple green with yellow lining and, according to Austen's usual practice, lost her name becoming simply No. 3, with the company's initials appearing on the tank side above the number. Officially withdrawn in 1937 the hulk of Rolvenden was finally disposed of by T W Ward in October 1938.

Bodiam was be replaced by a hired Terrier when its boiler gave out in September 1940. She was out of use until repaired in February 1943 with an A1X pattern boiler and smokebox. She may have also been fitted at this time with the S&MR's Dido' s tanks acquired in 1941 (see below). Re-boilering was a difficult job for Rolvenden Works, so two K&ESR fitters undertook the work at St Leonards Shed under wartime's cooperative arrangements. Finished in April 1943 the engine became to all intents and purposes an A1X, whilst retaining the sandboxes on the front splasher like some earlier Isle of Wight rebuilds. Some reports suggest she did not return home until 7 th March 1944 but this cannot now be verified. Further repairs were undertaken at Brighton Works between 28th April and 15th September 1947 when she received an exchange boiler and was repainted a darker green. After Nationalisation, the engine was taken into British Railways' stock and further repaired at Ashford in the second half of 1949; remarkably being repainted again in apple green with yellow lining but as British Railways No 32670. From then on she worked on the K&ESR until dieselisation; then working at Newhaven and elsewhere with occasional returns including the last day special. She returned in 1964, on preservation- a true living embodiment of the continuity of the K&ESR- on whose metals she has been present for all but 9 years of its 105 years of operation.

Edgehill Terriers in 1925


This line, a short mineral line split into two by an inclined plane, acquired two Terriers for its lower section. The first, No 1, came from the London Brighton & South Coast Railway (via the Longmoor Military Railway, where it had been on loan for war service) in May 1919 and No 2 followed in July 1920. No 1 was an A1X but No 2 was still an A1.According to Tonks they were repainted green with black edges, in the Brighton style, with white lining and lettering. On arrival they were used for the construction of the railway. However, because the railway never became fully operational, no shed was ever available: washing out, repairs etc were carried out at the Stratford-on-Avon Shed of the Stratford on Avon and Midland Junction Railway (who were closely associated with the Edgehill), where one of the locomotives was generally kept spare. The railway was built very slowly over the next 4 years and one of the Terriers was involved in a collision with some runaway wagons at the bottom of the incline in 1924.

It appears to have been repaired, but the railway closed for ever on 27 January 1925 and the engines were then stored at the foot of the incline, under steadily decaying canvas sheets, for the next 21 years. The Southern Railway are reported to have inspected them for possible purchase in 1938 but their condition ensured that the idea was abandoned. The lower part of The EHLR was requisitioned by the government during the Second World War for a munitions depot known as C A D Kineton, and this isolated the locomotives. Perhaps, as a consequence, they escaped wartime scrap drives and remained untouched until they finally fell to the scrapman in April and May 1946.


In early 1918, during the First World War, the Admiralty had acquired 5 Terriers using them at Invergordon and Inverness, very close to their progenitor's birthplace. They were needed in connection with the laying the laying of a massive sea mines barrage in the North Sea. This involved the movement of large quantities of US material ,shipped to Kyle of Lochalsh and transported in trains of SECR trucks hauled by LSWR Adams 4-4-2T to a US depot at the evacuated Dalmore Distillery at Alness ( US Naval Base 17) or by the Caledonian Canal to the similarly evacuated Glen Albin Distillery, Muirtown Basin, Inverness ( US Naval Base 18) .At Alness, to open up better access to the nearby Invergorden harbour, a new line 2miles long was built on the foreshore to join the Invergorden harbour branch. These bases were also used at the war's end to retrieve the mines. The Terriers must have worked hard in this period with three at Dalmore and two at Muirtown but they ended up as war surplus. Stephens seemed unable to resist the bargains on offer and swept three of these favourite engines into the net, all unrebuilt A1s: one came in 1921 and two in 1923. The first came from Dalmore to become No 7 Hecate, followed by No 8 Dido from Muirtown and No 9 Daphne again from Dalmore. In the early days the locos seem to have retained their existing liveries and Hecate was certainly in Marsh Umber for a time, with Dido in the black livery she had carried on the LB&SCR. Though reportedly never repainted they appear from photographs to have painted in a plain style, probably sage green.

Although some commentators seem to think these engines were little used, there is no real evidence to support this contention. All seem to have given moderately useful service on the railway but were handicapped by their relative smallness. Although they were rapidly supplanted on some passenger services by the railcar set, they seem to have found a niche for a few years in the 1920s.Tom Rolt records that by the late twenties they were less popular than the Ilfracombe Goods, because they were hardly equal to the morning mixed train to Shrewsbury with its heavy load of roadstone from the Criggion Quarries. As original A1s they carried no injectors but were dependent on a Stroudley's axle-driven pump, which was outdated even when they were built, to feed water to their boilers. Rolt notes that overloaded on the climb from the Severn to Ford and Crossgates, speed fell so low that the pump was unable to deliver enough feed water. The Terrier would then have to be detached from its train to run up and down and pump enough water into the boiler until the journey could be resumed.

In July 1930 it was reported to the S&MR Directors that Terrier No 8 Dido had been reconditioned with No 7 Hecate's boiler, and that No 7's remains had been scrapped. Her wheels were then sent to Rolvenden in lieu of debt, where they may still be extant under Bodiam. Dido was withdrawn in July 1931 (her reconditioning the previous year was thus of very limited use) and in November she was in the process of being broken up. By January she was reported as gone, but Austen later reported, on 17 October 1933, the sale of the boilers of 7 and 8, together with two others, to G R Jackson of Wednesbury for £100. Further her tanks lingered on until September 1941 when they were sold to the K&ESR for £1/10/- (£1.50) each, presumably for use on Bodiam.

With two Terriers now withdrawn, the last, No 9 Daphne, although officially withdrawn in 1932, lingered on, reportedly in working order ,well-kept and intact in Kinnerley paint shop, until bought in January 1939 by the Southern, and initially at least, stored in the paint shop at Eastleigh. Often reported as purchased for spares it does not seem to have been touched until scrapped in 1949. Daphne was an A1 in original condition and for some reason had been well preserved by the S&MR. Was it kept by the, usually unsentimental, Austen as a keepsake and intended for the Southern's Eastleigh museum collection, only for that collection to be abandoned in 1940 when it and its possible fellow relics (including Stephens K&ESR Royal Saloon acquired earlier) were put out, in some cases literally, to grass? This is a surmise at least as probable as the spares story. Boxhill later became the officially preserved Terrier.


During one of the WC&P's intermittent locomotive crises in 1925, Stephens turned again to the Southern Railway, as Brighton's successor, for a Terrier. He selected No 643, which had been rebuilt as an A1X as recently as September 1919. The engine was reputedly painted unlined black over her umber LBSC livery before sale, but this must have been a poor job because her original livery showed through clearly only 4 years later. She was purchased for in January 1926 and as No 1 Portishead did much to improve the timekeeping and image of the line. Her driver claimed to have pulled as many as 30 quarry wagons with her. Her axle broke in 1933 and was repaired with a set from the Shropshire & Montgomeryshire Railway. She was virtually in continuous use, except for lengthy boiler repairs, until the line closed.

The WC&P's motive power situation reached another crisis in 1936 and Austen obtained a further Terrier. She became No 4 and was painted in Austen's customary livery of green lined with yellow but, as by now usual, did not receive a name. She was purchased for £400 on 10 February 1937, in time to allow her sister to be set aside for boiler repairs. For the last couple of years the Terriers worked most trains until No 4 hauled the last public train on 18 May 1940. After some rather dubious ownership proceedings arising from the WC&P's uncertain legal status, both engines then became the property of the Great Western Railway on 22 June, No 4 working around Bristol for a few years before being condemned in 1948. Portishead was overhauled and worked around Bristol until 1948, when she moved on to Bridgwater Docks, before going into store at Swindon . Unsuccessful attempts were made to persuade Weston-super-Mare Council to preserve her but, after a period of storage, she went for scrap in 1954.


During the construction of this railway, under the supervision of Stephens as an engineer the contractor, W Rigby, hired LB&SCR No 671 Wapping, the engine that ultimately became K&ESR's No 5 Rolvenden, to help with the work. Stephens' affection for these engines probably effected both this hire, and the subsequent purchase in 1904, by the South East & Chatham Railway of a Terrier for use on this railway. The railway had opened using conventional locomotives, but in order to economise the SE&CR had, after flirtation with internal combustion railcars, decided to employ steam railcars on the line. To cope with the goods work they purchased No 654 Waddon, which became SE&CR No 751. It was also used on passenger trains at peak periods when the railcars were overloaded. Unfortunately, water supplies on the Sheppey Light were inadequate for a small tank, and by 1910 the Terrier had been moved away. Finally, carrying an A1X boiler but retaining an A1s appearance, she followed an even more peripatetic career than her fellows, including, numbered DS680, hauling a special on the K&ESR. She crowned this by ending up preserved at the Canadian National Railway Museum, near Montreal, where she has recently been repainted.


A strange case, even by Stephens' railway standards, is of the East Kent Terrier that never was. Terrier 642 was withdrawn in May 1925 at a time when Stephens was inspecting others for the WC&P. Her boiler was retained and bought by Stephens for the EKR in 1926 and is recorded as having been transported to Shepherdswell. Although it was never observed there it is recorded as remaining there until sold back to the Southern in 1936. The Southern then used it as a replacement for that on No 2653 which the next year returned to the Stephens fold as WC&P No4 . A Stephens' Terrier in spirit if not substance




RebuilT A1X












































































Bodiam *










Still running KESR










*Name not carried 1932 - 1963

(a) Sold to Admiralty, resold SMR 7/1921

(b) Sold to Admiralty, resold SMR 11/1923

(c) Resold to Southern Railway .Scr 4/1949

(d) Transferred to GWR 6/1940 as Nos 5 and 6 and to British Railways

(e) Preserved in Canada by Canadian Historical Association

Bodium at Headcorn

Cranbrook Road 12-4-58

Hirings and British Railway Workings

So far as is known, no other Terriers appeared on Stephens' lines in his lifetime, but the need for stringent economies on the K&ESR during the 1930s led W H Austen to use the good relations he and Stephens had established with the Southern Railway to initiate a sequence of engine hiring’s which lasted until the end of the K&ESR's independent existence.

P Class No 1556 (K&ESR's present 753) was the first hiring, but in mid-1938 the first Terrier arrived as a substitute – No 2655 – none other than the Bluebell's Stepney. She was replaced after a year by 2678, recently returned from the Isle of Wight, where she had been W14 Bembridge. She was destined to stay on the K&ESR for 18 years and later returned still to be seen working on the railway today. In the early war years, from 1939 to 1942, 2659 was also hired. These Terriers, with Bodiam, were the mainstays of the line until the arrival later in the war of 01 tender engines on the Headcorn section. Even then Bodiam, as 32670, and the faithful 32678, continued to share the working of the Tenterden-Robertsbridge section; Bodiam even remained in K&ESR green until 1954. During these early British Railways' years they were joined at various times by some of their sisters. Stepney returned briefly in 1953, as did 2659 for 3 years in the early 1950s, before disappearing to Lancing Carriage Works as DS681. 2640 appeared in the late forties and 32644 worked for 2 years prior to scrapping in 1951. Stepney and 32678 shared the honours on the last day of passenger services.

With the retrenchment to freight services on the Tenterden-Robertsbridge section, Terriers reigned supreme. Rolvenden Shed had closed so they worked from St Leonards. Stepney left for Newhaven in a swap for 32636 Fenchurch, which had been at the harbour for over 50 years. 32662 was stationed at St Leonards for a whole two weeks in September 1958 and is known to have worked one train.

In June 1958 dieselisation finally arrived, and 32678 severed her long connection with the K&ESR and departed for the Hayling Island Branch, not returning to steam on her former home until 41 years later. Bodiam too slackened her hold on the K&ESR although like other Terriers she continued to return until final closure of the line.

With preservation, a total newcomer appeared on the scene, 32650. After spending the early 1930s on the Isle of Wight as W9 Fishbourne, she then spent 20 years at Lancing Carriage Works as DS515, finally working from 1953 onwards as a Hayling Island engine. Purchased by Sutton & Cheam Council for exhibition, changed plans found it diverted to accompany Bodiam on the resurrected K&ESR in 1964. Active on the Railway for 32 of the next 40 years and withdrawn with worn cylinders, she was moved by her owners to the Spa Valley railway in 2004 where she still languishes.

32678 had been exiled to Butlin's Holiday Camp for 15 years after withdrawal and then made her way via the West Somerset Railway and Resco Ltd, to her old stamping ground of 22 years' duration. On the K&ESR she is generally referred to by the name Knowle, a name that she had not carried since about 1907.Together with Bodiam these two long-term companions make up the duo of resident Terriers. Great living memorials to Colonel Stephens on the preserved K&ESR.


LBSC NameBuilt


KESR Association























Hired 1938 worked 5 /1953-61

Hired 1940> left 1958 returned 1988 to service 1999

Worked 7/1948-3/1951

Worked 4/1949-4/1951

Worked 1954-1958?

In Preservation1964-2004 as ‘Sutton’

Worked 9/1949-8/1953

extant on Bluebell Railway

extant on the K&ESR,to be renamed Tenterden

extant on IOW as W11 Newport

scrapped 4/1951

As 32636 extant on Bluebell Railway

extant at the Spa Valley Railway

to Lancing as DS681 Scr 6/1963


Locomotive History of the London Brighton and South Coast Railway, Vol  , D L Bradley, RCTS

Lines of Character, L T C Rolt, Constable, 1952

Edge Hill Light Railway, E C Tonks, 1949

East Kent Railway, M Lawson Finch & Stephen Garrett, Oakwood Press, 2003

Sheppey Light Railway, B Hart, WSP, 1999

The Highland Railway, David Ross, Stenlake Publishing, 2010

S&MR minutes and WC&P papers in the National Archive

Colonel Stephens Archive