With Planet No 101 carrying a heavy burden of traffic within Springwell yard it was felt a further diesel loco would be a useful addition to our fleet. If No 101 suffered a major failure at any time we would have to resort to firing up a steam loco for shunting duties etc., a costly and time taking exercise.
Hunslet 6263 was originally built for the South Western Gas Board to a standard design. 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 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.
Whilst not the prettiest or best turned out loco we have (the restoration cost next to nothing and was a case of make do or mend) it has proved to be very useful indeed, and more powerful than No 101.