The well loved Terrier locomotive is an original from the days of the Victorian railway and made her return in time to lead the Kent & East Sussex Railway‘s Platinum Jubilee celebrations at their Best of British Weekend which took place from the 2nd to the 5th of June.
London Brighton & South Coast Railway Terrier No 70 ‘Poplar’ is now back and in impressive form following a £150,000 project which saw her return in the original ornate livery that she carried when built back in 1872.
Poplar re-joins her sister Terrier No 2678 ‘Knowle’ which is also based at K&ESR and the bank holiday weekend event saw her resume passenger service once again.
‘Poplar’s’ first paid passenger service was at 11.45 on Thursday the 2nd of June and saw representatives of K&ESR, the Terrier Trust, the Borough of Ashford and Tenterden Town on board. ‘Poplar’s’ return to the rails also coincided with The Terrier Trust’s celebration of the 150th anniversary of these small but mighty engines entering service on passenger trains in South and East London.
The restoration saw a successful fundraising appeal carried out which began in 2019 by both the Terrier Trust and K&ESR which has allowed ‘Poplar’ to be back in action for the anniversary. A major donation of £25,000 was made by the Garfield Weston Foundation which is a family-founded, grant-making charity which supports causes throughout the UK alongside generous gifts from rail enthusiasts, the general public and Terrier Trust members.
The North Norfolk Railway undertook the extensive overhaul of ‘Poplar’ with the final work and livery carried out in Kent and the final coats of varnish being applied only days ahead of her debut run.
‘Poplar’ was named after one of the areas it served in London and will be revisiting her roots during June as part of an outreach event for primary schools and the local community.
Unveiling the newly-restored ‘Poplar’ on Tuesday 31 May at Tenterden Town Station, in advance of its first passenger service, Simon Marsh, Chairman of the Kent & East Sussex Railway said:
“‘Poplar’ was first purchased by the K&ESR in 1901 and has worked this line almost continuously ever since. It is therefore wonderful to have this iconic locomotive back to service in time to celebrate both the 150th anniversary of her engine class and the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen. We are certainly fortunate to have not one but two of the last surviving Terriers available to treat locals and visitors alike to wonderful scenic rides along the Rother Valley, as well as reminding us of the past which has brought us here.”
Tom White, Chairman of The Terrier Trust said:
“Terriers and other historic steam engines deserve to be more than just preserved in static displays. We, along with so many others, believe that this aspect of our heritage is transformed by being seen and experienced when ‘in steam’. We are therefore truly grateful for the generosity of all the donors – in particular the Garfield Weston Foundation – the staff of North Norfolk Railway Engineering, and the dedicated volunteers and staff at the K&ESR for helping to make this possible so that these legendary engines can once again play their part in bringing our industrial and social history to life.”