Number 30499 is the oldest of our two S15’s, having been one of the first
batchof five ordered in January 1916, but not completed at Eastleigh until May 1920. She was turned out as 499 in LSWR holly green goods livery and allocated to Nine Elms for heavy goods work. After some twenty years at Nine Elms, 499 was re-allocated to Feltham in 1940 joining the remainder of the class at the new marshalling yard.
A year later, 499 was commandeered to help on the GWR! This wartime period kept 499 on the GWR section working out of Old Oak Common until 1943. Once part of the Southern Railway, 499’s first heavy overhaul in 1924/5 saw her repainted into lined goods black livery as E499, but in 1931 she received Maunsell lined green in recognition of the S15’s regular passenger duties. At this time, E499 also received her distinctive smoke deflectors. The number reverted back to 499 in 1934.
The next most obvious change was the replacement of the Urie stovepipe chimney with a Maunsell class U1 pattern chimney in 1941 when she was also repainted in wartime plain black livery. After nationalisation of the railways, 499 received number 30499 and British Railways goods black in January 1949.
At the end of 1963, 30499 lost her original Urie double bogie 5,000 gallon tender (No. 3203) for an Ashford six-wheel 4,000 gallon tender (No. 882 from Maunsell S15 No. 30835). Sadly, a few days later, 30499 was condemned, on 5 January 1964, with 1.24 million miles in service to her credit. Being stored at Feltham, 30499 was lucky in that she was sold to Woodham Brothers of Barry for £1,040, and started her journey to the South Wales scrapyard in June 1964.
30499 languished at Barry for sixteen years before losing her tender for the second time, when it was purchased to go with Class U No. 31625, which left for the Mid-Hants Railway in 1980. Earlier, the Urie Locomotive Society had purchased sister engine No. 30506 (in 1973) and moved it to the Mid-Hants Railway. Once this engine was well on the way to returning to steam, a plan was put forward to purchase 30499 as a full set of spare parts. In the event, 30499 became ours in 1980, but by then with the intention of eventually returning her to steam. A Maunsell double bogie 5,000 gallon tender No. 3223 of 1927 vintage was purchased from Barry to replace the one lost in 1980.
Since arriving at Ropley on the Mid-Hants Railway in 1983, work on 30499 has focused on obtaining or making the missing parts required to return her to steam. In 1996, 30499 was taken to Ian Riley Engineering at Bury on the East Lancs Railway, where her boiler, No. 755, was removed and donated to sister engine 30506 to allow that engine to extend its service on the Mid-Hants Railway to fourteen years. Whilst at Bury, the frames of 30499 were overhauled and painted, and the wheels and crank pins have been turned. In November 2008 it was decided to move 30499 back to the Mid-Hants Railway and she then saw a period in store at Alresford.
In 2011 the locomotive was brought up to Ropley to join the Society’s headquarters and other locomotive 30506, where she was then lifted onto a specially laid concrete plinth. Restoration has now commenced on 30499 with the cab being the first major project. New steelwork has been fabricated and erected and in the course of the next stage, more steel will be purchased to construct a new roof and then replacement of the corroded running plates.