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This loco, although a Hunslet design, was actually contracted out to their sister company Andrew Barclays in Kilmarnock and was finished in 1981 as their works number 651. It was supplied as a 2 foot gauge loco to the Seaham Training Centre before being transferred to Horden Colliery in August 1981. In May 1986 it was transferred to Ashington Central Workshops where the gauge was widened to 2 feet 6 inches before being moved onto Westoe Colliery. Up to this point the loco had carried the British Coal number 20/122/514 but at Westoe it became BO-3. In October 1993 it was once again moved to Ashington Workshops prior to its last move to Springwell in December 1993.
These 22 ton locos were developed by Hunslet to transport miners to the coalface, the North East coastal collieries such as Easington and Ellington being popular locations. With over 200 men to be carried 6 miles out under the North Sea, sometimes climbing gradients of 1 in 20, they had to be powerful and fast so they were geared to allow a top speed of up to 30mph. Any gauge between 2 and 3 feet could be accommodated. This class of loco is a development of an earlier Hunslet design which incorporated 2 Gardner 6LW six cylinder engines, each producing over 100hp and driving through Twin Disc torque converters.
This is the only steam locomotive bought new for Bowes Railway still to survive. She was built in 1949 by Andrew Barclay Sons and Co in Kilmarnock and carried the work number 2274.
With 14in. by 22in. cylinders and 3ft. 5in. wheels, this represents a standard design by the makers, Andrew Barclay Sons and Co. of Kilmarnock. In later years the design was updated in certain details, such as the shape of the cab windows, as on No 22.
NCB No 6 (North West Durham) Area originally intended to send the loco to East Tanfield Colliery, near Stanley, but instead it was delivered new to Springwell Bank Foot shed on the Bowes Railway on 20th October 1949, becoming Bowes No 22. Subsequently, the loco was re-numbered No 85.
The loco worked on the eastern end of the line for over four years, and was then sent to East Tanfield Colliery in July 1954. It was loaned to the nearby Tanfield Lea Colliery in October and November 1957, and went there again in April 1958, before being sent to the Bowes Marley Hill shed in November 1959. Here the regular duty was as the pilot locomotive at Burnopfield Colliery until it closed in August 1968. When rail traffic ceased at Marley Hill in 1970 the loco was transferred to St. Anthony’s Tar Works in Newcastle upon Tyne. It did little work here, and none at all after 1973. In 1976 it was placed on loan to the Bowes Railway preservation scheme by the owners. Later, British Coal transferred ownership of the locomotive officially to the Bowes Railway Co. Ltd.
The locomotive has worked our passenger trains and proved to be very reliable. It has been overhauled several times at Springwell and repainted in the livery originally carried in 1949.
This narrow gauage (2’0″) locomotive was built by Robert Stephenson and Hawthorne and delivered to Eppleton Colliery at Christmas, 1958. Later, the loco was moved to Murton Colliery before transfer to Seaham Training Centre in 1985.
The English Electric Standard 13 ton flameproof battery loco has an outstanding record of reliable service with British Coal. Initially developed as a single cab loco designated EM1, the two prototypes were so successful that both were still in service in the 1980s, over thirty years after they were introduced. With new regulations requiring locos over 10 tons to have a cab at each end, the EM1 was superseded by the EM2. This design remained in production for over twenty years.
Loco Coal is currently under restoration in the Wagon Shop.
Photo updates coming soon!
Hunslet 6263 of 1964
Hunslet 6263 was originally built for the South Western Gas Board to a new design by Hunslet. Not many were built, and there are now only three survivors. She was sold by the Gas Board to the NCB’s Coal Products Division, leaving Exeter by road on 18th May 1971, for use as a standby loco at Derwenthaugh, then on to Norwood and finally, Hawthorn coke works. The power unit was overhauled in 1979 and only 6,000 miles were recorded on the odometer when the loco arrived at Springwell in December 1988.
Some restoration work was carried out in 1989, but other priorities meant it was 1991 before further work was carried out. Another two years passed before the loco was finally taken into the loco shed in 1993 for work to begin in earnest. With very little money available the loco was returned to working order and put into service in 1994.
This small locomotive was the first diesel purchased by NCB No 6 Area. She and a sister loco were built by F.C. Hibberd & Co. at their Park Royal works in London under their trade name “Planet”, and were acquired for working the section of the Pelaw Main Railway from Starrs at Wrekenton, round to Springwell on Bowes Railway via the link to the Blackham’s Hill East Incline. She thus has a direct link with the section now preserved.
No 101 was delivered on 1st January 1960, and apart from short periods elsewhere for emergencies or repair, remained the regular engine on the Starrs – Springwell run for the next 14 years, her slow speed earning her the nickname “Wells Fargo”.
After closure of the line she was repaired at Springwell and then transferred between several collieries in the area, eventually ending up at the Philadelphia shed of the Lambton Railway in 1977. Finally becoming surplus to requirements No 101 was acquired for the Bowes Railway and returned to Springwell in 1979.
The loco was overhauled and painted in original livery and undertook steady work at Springwell, being employed on works trains, yard shunting duties and from time to time taking the rope haulage set to Blackham’s Hill on operating duties.
On 7th May 1981, we took delivery of 0-4-0 Barclay locomotive, virtually identical to No 22. This small Barclay design proved ideal for our needs.
One of the last steam locomotives built by Barclay’s (Work Number 2361 of 1954), she was delivered to the Long Meg works of the Long Meg Plaster and Mineral Co. Ltd. at Lazonby, near Carlisle, on 10th June 1954. The locomotive was named “W.S.T.” after Mr. William Steuart Trimble, the plaster company’s Deputy Chairman. As new, it was a very sophisticated industrial locomotive. It was fitted with a mechanical lubricator; water softening apparatus; a device for the removal of sludge from the boiler and water sprinklers for the wheels to help it round sharp curves.
The engine was transferred to the company’s nearby Cocklake Works in 1969 as a spare engine to the diesels which had recently arrived. It remained out of use until 1980, when Cocklake‘s owners (now British Gypsum), sought a new home for her. The loco attracted considerable interest, and we were very pleased when the company agreed to place WST on long-term loan to the railway.
The loco was fully overhauled at Springwell and repainted in her original olive green livery and re-entered traffic at Springwell in May 1983.
British Gypsum (now part of Saint Gobain) very kindly signed ownership over to the Bowes Railway Trust in September 2008.
Chauldrons: The original type of wagon used by ecvery North East Colliery railway, these primitive wagons carried 4 tons of coal and little in the way of brakes, the Bowes railway replaced there fleet in 1910, whilst some survived in use until the 1960’s at Seaham Harbour.
Darlington Iron Frames: one of 100 iron framed wagons built in 1887 by the Darlington Wagon & Engineering Co Ltd, to replace the railways fleet of Chauldron wagons. Restored to the 1914 grey livery, used by the railway when it was named the Pontop & Jarrow Railway. Preserved examples: 122
Jubilees: A second batch of 100 wagons built by the Darlington Wagon & Engineering Co Ltd in 1897. These are a foot longer and have wooden frames. Surviving examples : 197, 202, 210
Ordinaries: The Bowes railway company built around 800 of these wagons with most being completed before the first world war. They have oak frames and are 19ft 6 inches long. These 10 ton wagons have four doors and ‘Batter’ plates, which when hit with hammers they dislodged wet coal without damaging the wagon. Surviving examples: 80, 289, 308, 364, 511, 525, 572, 573, 605, 701, 717, 775, 782, 788, 842, 939, 971
Stripeys: These are ex North Eastern Railway waggons, bought second hand, they get the name from the white stripe they as part of the NER livery. The railway bought a number of them between the wars, many have the remains of the end brakes originally fitted. Two examples Numbers 1107 and 1111 arrived from the Pelaw Main railway once the two were merged in 1959, most Pelaw Main wagons were scrapped due to the poor condition in which they arrived. Surviving examples: 1104, 1107, 1111, 1160, 1212, 1220, 1255, 1289
Watts hardies: Part of a batch of 50 wagons built by Watts Hardy Co ltd of North Shields in the 1930’s, the design is the same as the railways ordinary fleet. Surviving examples: 1611, 1615
Steel frame: Number 406 was originally a tar carrying tank waggon at Monkton Coke works, but was converted into a coal hopper at Springwell in 1963. Surviving examples: 406
Bogie Fleet: Part of a fleet of 50 wagons built to carry materials around the railway such as stone and track materials. B24 had the honour of carrying the Queen Mother on the opening of the preservation scheme. Surviving Examples: B3, B24, B33, B39, B49, B52
Drift Bogie: This wagon is unique, used for shunting Kibblesworth Colliery, with the electric hauler shunting the sidings via a rope. The drift bogie was filled with scrap so it ran down the sidings, whilst a shelter was provided for the shunter.
Reel Wagon: Again a unique wagon, this was used for changing the ropes on the inclines. This was converted form a 1887 iron framed hopper. These wagons were hauled up the incline using the old rope, paying out the new one be- hind. On arrival at the top of the incline, the old rope was cut up for scrap.
Loco Coal Bogie: Number 1424 is the only survivor of the 14 ten ton hoppers designed to carry coal to the locomotive sheds on the railway.
Tank: Number 1183 is a gas oil tank converted from a 1953 steel hopper at the Seaham Wagon Works in 1981 for use on the Hawthorn Railway.
Platelayers Wagon: G4 a two plank platelayers waggon nick named the Nanny Wagon from the Harton Railway.
Ballast Hopper: 25 ton Trout ballast hopper, built for British Rail. Became Hawthorn colliery number 13.
PWD: A permanent way van constructed on site in the 1990’s on a restored chassis.
Steel Hoppers: Numbers 944, 6005, D056, 6067, 6196, 6972, 6977, these steel hoppers show a range of designs used on the Bowes Railway from 1959 as well as other modern steel hoppers from across the North East Collieries.
Brake Van A18: Built in 1933 at the Lambton railways Philadelphia works, then to the Harton railway.
Brake Van 2: Ex LMS van of 1924, sold to the Barrington Light Railway then to preservation.
Brake Van 3: EX LMS van of 1934, bought from British Steel at Scunthorpe where it was used as a mobile canteen.
Ruston 88 476140 of 1963 'Redheugh'
This locomotive was purchased new, to work at Redheugh Gas Works in Gateshead, she is Ruston's standard 88hp design. Delivered in 1963, to replace the traditional steam powered locomotive at the gas works. She was used on site until 1967, then led a nomadic existence until sold for preservation with Beamish Museum in 1972. Residing with the museums collection at the former Bowes Railway shed at Marley Hill in Tanfield, she was then transferred to Bowes Railway in June 2010.
She has been overhauled at site and was christened 'Redheugh' in honour of her working life.
In September 1944, Hudswell-Clarke and Co. Ltd and Hugh Wood Mining Co. reached an agreement to manufacture flameproofed diesel locos. Although not first in the field, the agreement actually produced the first operational 100 hp machine to pass the tests required to obtain certified approval for it to work underground.
The 102hp Huwood-Hudswell was an 0-6-0 fitted with a Gardner engine. Transmission was via a Vulcan Sinclair scoop controlled fluid coupling to a self changing 3-speed gearbox. On changing gear upwards the drive was maintained, preventing snatching at the drawbar. The original units were built with single cabs, though from 1951 some were equipped to work in tandem. In the 1950s, regulations were changed, requiring a cab to be fitted at each end. Our loco dates from 1954 and was originally in use at Seaham Colliery.
Ruston's 395294 of 1956 'Pinky' and 416210 of 1957 'Perky'
The last commercially working locomotives in County Durham, built to Ruston's 165 design. Delivered new, to the River Wear Commissioners, becoming numbers 21 and 22 in their extensive fleet.
In 2001 the two locomotives were mothballed, becoming the last in use on the Port of Sunderland's dock network, and indeed the last commercially used industrial locomotives in Durham.
In 2017, they were transferred on long term loan to Bowes Railway.
Both locomotives have under gone extensive restoration into their original, as delivered, RWC liveries.