top of page
P Class 0-6-0T No 31556

Class Introduced: 1909

Designer: Mr H Wainwright

Built: 1909 - Ashford Works, South Eastern & Chatham Railway (SE&CR)

Total Number Built: 8

Numbers Carried: 753, A556, 1556, 31556

British Railways (BR) Power Classification: 0F

Under British Railways (BR) ownership, the former Kent & East Sussex Light Railway closed to regular passenger services in January 1954.  The Tenterden to Headcorn section was lifted the following year, though goods services continued through to June 1961 when the line was closed completely, leaving just a short section between Robertsbridge and the flour mill at North Bridge Street (prior to Salehurst Halt).

Determined that his mill should remain connected to the network, Mr Thomas Dadswell of James Hodson (Millers) Ltd (also reported as James Hodson and Sons Ltd) had been undertaking negotiations for a small locomotive - BR identified their last remaining example of the P Class, No 31556, which was purchased following a favourable inspection at Brighton.

A form of Mr Wainwright's passenger livery was swiftly applied upon arrival which included a large scroll containing 'Pride of Sussex'the brand name of the company's products, on each tank side.  The new livery also included a small shield containing the six Sussex martlets.  Four or five times a week she would be seen in steam, shunting the mill and transporting grain to and from the Hastings main line.

By 1965, urgent firebox works were required and on numerous occasions it was necessary for the mill owners to arrange replacement motive power.

Early in 1969 focus shifted from flour production to animal feedstuffs and the siding officially closed in January 1971, having served the site for sixty-six years.  Despite stiff competition from the neighbouring Kent & East Sussex Railway and Bluebell Railway, 'Pride of Sussex' was purchased by the Nuthatch Line and transferred by road for extensive overhaul.

bottom of page