Hunslet Diesel Hydraulic Loco 20/122/514

Hunslet Diesel Hydraulic Loco 20/122/514

IMG_5971This 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.