The riddle of the identity swap between these two locomotives was fully explained in the February 1988 Railway Observer (p.50) under the heading of Exchange of Identities. To re-cap the exchange took place in June 1983 at Swindon Works. 08731 had arrived for fitting train dual brakes but it was found to have a damaged frame. To avoid costly repairs one of the condemned locomotives standing at Swindon, 08572, was selected for return to traffic in its place and each was given the others number. The genuine 08731 by then numbered 08572 was cut up at Swindon by mid-October 1983. This was recorded in the December 1983 Railway Observer (p.488) but without any explanation that the locomotive carrying number 08572 and cut up was in fact the genuine 08731. The genuine 08572 by then numbered 08731 was allocated to Motherwell following overhaul and subsequently saw use at various Scottish depots before being taken out of service in 1995 and stored at Motherwell.
RCTS member Alan Ledwick was, in 1983, responsible for monitoring progress on the various dual brake modifications including the Class 08’s at Swindon and adds the following as further explanation. 08572 was condemned from Haymarket 22nd February 1981 and arrived at Swindon 1st April 1981. It was still present when 08731 entered A Shop on 23rd June 1983 having been called for shopping ex traffic at Motherwell. 08731 was stripped and found to have a damaged frame and thus to be unsuitable for the programme without major repairs. These were not authorised owing to the large number of suitable locomotives held in reserve (both in stored & condemned status) within the works area. However material for the modification (charged to a specific authority) was already being processed. It was therefore decided to replace 08731 by another Class 08 but as the material had already been charged it was difficult to amend the authority given. For accountancy reasons it was decided that 08731 was to be replaced by a former Scottish Region Locomotive. Hence 08572 was considered to be 08731 in the programme and shown as ex Works 30th September 1983.
On 21st June 2002 the genuine 08572 numbered 08731 was moved by road to the Stockton yard of T. J. Thomson where it remained for a little over one year. On 13th August 2003 it was again moved by road, this time to Foster Yeoman Quarries, Merehead. It then again moved in early 2004, exact date not known, to LH Group Services, Barton-under-Needwood where various components were removed. On 16th April 2004 it returned to Foster Yeoman Quarries, Merehead by road where it remained in a derelict state for over four years. Its next move was during the summer of 2008 when it moved to the Bodmin Steam Railway for a short period, before returning to Merehead on 29th August. The date of arrival at Bodmin is not known. During March 2009, exact date not known, the remains of the locomotive were moved to the Bunns Lane yard in Frome of scrap merchant J. W. Ransome where they were cut up.
The later history for the genuine 08572, but by then numbered 08731, was raised in Query Corner (Q9.22) and hopefully this answers that query. In addition the swap was also the subject of an earlier Query Corner question (Q7.25).
Anyone who has observed the genuine 08572 by then numbered 08731 since 2002 is asked to submit their observations. Further details are are given under the ‘Ex BR Class 08’s of the Somerset Quarries’ unsolved dilemma
Last updated: 19th January 2019