Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Shunting Locos

After its temporary re-wheeling as an 0-4-0, Danish Class F No.656 "Tinkerbell" was moved into the new overhaul workshop from the old 2-road shed. I understand that this task was greatly aided by members of the Battle of Britain Locomotive Society, who very kindly stopped work on 34081 for a while, including into the evening, to help with carrying out the move across the site.

A relatively simple job like putting the wheels back on can give a real psychological boost to any rail vehicle restoration project. As the Bluebell railway has found with the restoration of SECR 'P' class No.178, a project like this is ideal for volunteers and staff to gain new skills and experience, without the time pressure of getting it in steam by a certain date.

The shunt also saw LMS brake composite No.18017 brought from under the A1 bridge to the end of the 'IRPS siding'. Terry is continuing its restoration and conversion into volunteer sleeping accommodation.

The LMS coach in its new home. This now potentially frees up the A1 bridge for a wagon restoration base, a request has gone in...

The previous view, photo taken February 2011. This begs the question, where have these scruffy locos gone?

A quick hunt reveals them under cover for the first time in many years, which has got to be a good thing. DB 64.305 now sits next to "Derek Crouch" in the shed, which has also been brought under cover from the end of the 'IRPS siding' during this latest shunt.

The two locos side-by-side.

A little loco with an intersting history. No.1539 'Derek Crouch'. This loco was built by Hudswell Clarke of Leeds in 1924, for Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons and used to construct the sugar beet factory at Wissington, near Downham Market, Norfolk. It seems the loco was then sold to the British Sugar Corporation, who then used the locomotive on the Wissington Light Railway between the factory and the LNER branch line. During this period the locomotive was named "Hayle", and later renamed as "Wissington Loco".

In 1955 No.1539 was sold to Derek Crouch (Contractors) Ltd, and gained its current name. It worked in an open-cast coal mine in Widdrington, Northumberland. It remained there until 1970, when it was placed in store. In 1972, it was placed with the Peterborough Locomotive Society (PLS) on 'permanent loan' (whatever that means?!)

In 1974 this locomotive worked the first PLS train along the Nene Valley line. The PLS became the present-day NVR, and as such No.1539 has a special place in the NVR history books.

As an aside, personally I'd like to see "Derek Crouch" cosmetically restored and become the publically-accessible footplate loco by the turntable. "Jacks Green", currently providing this role, could then be brought into the shed and potentially returned to steam as a useful British loco at a future date. One of our fitters has said to me that Jacks Green is a powerful loco and would surprise many with its capabilities!

Brief history of 1539 adapted from the NVR Stock Book 2007 Edition.