Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co.

Key Features
December 1941
Southern Rail
August 1964
First Restored:
May 2016

35006 Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co. is a Southern Railway rebuilt Merchant Navy Class 4-6-2 steam locomotive. It was built at Eastleigh locomotive works in December 1941 and given the Southern Railway number 21C6.

Although the first two members of the Merchant Navy class had their air-smoothed casings made of sheet steel, 21C6 was one of eight in which the casing was made of asbestos board, with a visible horizontal fixing strip along the centre line.

21C6 was allocated to Salisbury Shed where it remained based throughout her working life. Its first livery was unlined black, with hand-painted lettering in gilt with black blocking and yellow highlights. In December 1942 the locomotive's Bulleid chain-driven valve gear failed near Honiton on an evening goods service when one of the valve chains parted, throwing oil over the boiler cladding, track and lineside vegetation, which then ignited.

When Nationalisation came in 1948 the locomotive was renumbered as 35006. From November 1955 all members of the Merchant Navy class were substantially rebuilt, with 35006 and 35028 Clan Line being the last two examples to be modified in October 1959. Rebuilding included the removal of the air-smoothed casing, and the fitting of Walschaerts valve gear.

35006 was withdrawn in August 1964, with a final mileage of 1,134,319. It was bought by Dai Woodham for £350 and sent to Woodham Brothers scrapyard in Barry, South Wales. Whilst at the scrapyard the tender, which was notable for being used only with 35006 for its entire working life, was sold to a group restoring another Merchant Navy locomotive, and many fittings were removed from the engine. The remains of 35006 were purchased for preservation in 1983 with the intention of restoring it to running order. The locomotive was moved to Toddington, the principal station of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway. It was the 144th locomotive to leave the scrapyard.

Restoration was a long drawn out affair. On 10 August 2015 35006 moved under its own power for the first time in under 50 years, albeit only with two of the three cylinders connected. During April and May 2016 the loco undertook light engine and loaded test runs. The first public runs were during the GWSR's Cotswold Festival of steam gala at the end of May, and the locomotive is now operational.


  • Wheel arrangement: 4-6-2
  • Origin: Southern Railway, designed by O V S Bulleid
  • Introduced: 1941
  • Working weight: 151 tons
  • Driving wheels: 6' 2"
  • Tractive effort: 33,495lbs
  • Water capacity: 5,000 gallons
  • Purpose: Designed as a 'fast mixed traffic' loco, the three-cylinder Merchant Navy class introduced a number of novel features such as an air-smoothed casing and enclosed chain driven valve gear. 30 of the class were built between 1941 and 1949 and could be found hauling the Southern's premier expresses from Victoria and Waterloo. In the late fifties all were rebuilt, receiving the BR power classification 8P, and dispensing with the air smoothed casing and chain valve gear but retaining many of the Bulleid features, including the very free-steaming boiler. In the last days of steam, these locos were regularly putting in 100mph performances. 'P & O' was based at Salisbury throughout its life and was withdrawn in 1964. In 1983 its present owners rescued it from Barry and brought it to Toddington.