Alan C Clothier

From Festipedia, hosted by the FR Heritage Group

1928 - 2018

Alan Clothier attended the 1951 Bristol Meeting. He was a Swindon Works trained locomotive engineer having served an apprenticeship there. He went on to have a long career with BR which included modifications to steam locomotives (double chimneys for Castles and Kings) and then on diesels. He ended his career after a considerable period in charge of diesel locomotive maintenance at Newcastle. In 2014 he published a book "Beyond the Blaydon Races" about early tramways which carried coal to the Tyne[1]. The area covered by this book is mainly that of the five wagonways delivering coal to their staithes on the River Tyne at Lemington from collieries at Wylam, Heddon, Throckley, Walbottle, Hollywell and Black Callerton.

Alan has in recent years has been working with Anthony Massau and others in a project to build at the Severn Valley Railway a British Railways Class 3 2-6-2 tank locomotive. The project is the 82045 Locomotive Trust. The connection with the BR Class 3 engines came about through his work in the Design Office at Swindon, where one of his tasks involved finding the optimum angle for the spectacle plate window glasses for the reduction of reflected glare from the fire when working at night. The cab back sheet and rear bunker of 82405 were built by the FR at Boston Lodge (completed 2015) and the water tanks were built by the WHR at Dinas.

Anthony Massau wrote on 2/11/2021 as follows about Alan Clothier's involvement with the 82405 Trust:

"Alan Clothier became a member of The 82045 Steam Locomotive Trust and came to see us at Bridgnorth some years ago but further visits became impossible due to a deterioration in his wife's health which kept him confined to home. Since then he has sadly passed away himself. As you are probably aware he was involved in the design of the new BR Standard class 3 tank engines as a young draughtsman at Swindon loco works and he told us of a visit there from Stuart Cox overall head of design for the BR Standard locos who said regarding the class 3 tanks " whatever you do you must keep the overall weight of the completed locomotive down due to the weight restrictions, etc. on some of the rural routes that these tank engines will run on". Alan also related that the water tanks gave trouble on the early engines with splits and leaks occurring. He said some of the steel provided to construct the tanks was poor quality and the fabricators sometimes did things their own way rather than follow the drawings. A new revised drawing was eventually produced which is what we provided to the F&WHR to use at Dinas.":

Here is the entry in Steam Index[2] - although Alan has indicated it may not be completely correct.

"Clothier, Alan Cary
Born 10 January 1928. Educated Sexey's School Bruton. Draughtsman at Swindon responsible for design of double chimneys fitted to King and some Castle class in final period of steam: see Durrant p. 129. Shed master Cardiff East Dock 1955; Technical Assistant to Superintendent MPD Newton Abbot 1957; Works Study Officer MPD South Wales 1958; Divisional Maitenance Engineer Newcastle 1965-78. Cornwell Whos who. Frequent contributor to Great Western Railway Journal. Active on 82045 preservation at Bridgnorth."

Alan Clothier died at Whitley Bay, aged 90 in 2018. At that point he was one of only three attenders to the 1951 Bristol Meeting known to Bristol Area Group to still be alive - the others being Vic Mitchell and John Bate.


  1. ^ Clothier, Alan (2014). Beyond the Blaydon Races. Melrose Books. ISBN 1-9097-5740-3.
  2. ^ Steam Index