Lynton and Barnstaple Locomotives

When the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway first opened for traffic there were three 2-6-2T locomotives available. These were built by Manning, Wardle and were given names, Yeo, Exe and Taw, but no numbers. It became apparent during the first year of operation that three was an insufficient number so the decision was made to buy another. However, it just so happened that there was an engineering strike in Britain at the time which meant that delivery of a fourth engine could not be until some time ahead. The Railway decided to look elsewhere and subsequently placed an order with the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia, USA, for a 2-4-2T which was built and delivered in a remarkably short time. This locomotive, with its American style and manners, was named Lyn but was never fully accepted by the drivers and fitters who looked on it with some suspicion and treated it warily, despite better handling on the tight radii curves due to the shorter wheelbase!
Exe Exe at Blackmoor Gate station.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

After absorption into the Southern Railway the engines all gained numbers, Yeo bcoming NºE759, Exe NºE760, Taw NºE761 and Lyn NºE762 (although they were also referred to in some documents with the prefix 'L' rather than 'E'). The Southern Railway spent a lot of money upgrading the line's infrastructure and, at the same time, ordered a fifth locomotive, once again from the original supplier, Manning, Wardle. This entered traffic in July 1925 and was named Lew and given the number E188. Despite the improvements to the line traffic levels were low and in 1935 the line was closed with the responsibility for passengers passing to the Southern National Omnibus Company, a subsidiary of the Southern Railway. All five locomotives were included in a sale of the line's assets at Pilton depot on 13 November 1935. The locos were sold, just ten years old Lew for £52 and exported to Brazil, the others for scrap: Yeo, Taw and Lyn for £50, Exe (which had a steel firebox) for £34. Rumours have circulated for many years that Lew still exists in Brazil, but there is no evidence of this and it is highly unlikley that the locomotive has survived until today.
Lyn outside Pilton works in early Southern Railway days. As built she had a handsome copper capped chimney, but after a visit to Eastleigh returned with this plain stovepipe. Fortunately none of the other locomotives ever visited Eastleigh!

photograph reproduced with kind permission of Exmoor Heritage Postcards

Lew Lew, the youngest of the locomotives, also in early Southern livery in Pilton Yard.

photograph reproduced with kind permission of Exmoor Heritage Postcards

Lyn in the later, bolder, Southern livery. Note that the nameplate has been moved to the cabside - the original position when the engine was built.

photograph reproduced with kind permission of Exmoor Heritage Postcards

Exe Exe, one of the three original engines, towards the end of her working life. Note how near to the ground the cylinders are. Because of this the 2-6-2Ts were fitted with Joy valve gear, generally considered to be inferior to Walschaerts valve gear for outside cylinder engines but of benefit on a narrow gauge line where the wheels are small and the cylinders low. Both applied on the Lynton and Barnstaple!

photograph reproduced with kind permission of Exmoor Heritage Postcards

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This page was last updated 31 May 2007

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