The Middleton Railway in Leeds has announced that Swanscombe No. 6, a resident steam locomotive at the railway, has been steamed for the first time after overhaul.
No. 6 was one of six 0-4-0ST locomotives built by Hawthorn Leslie & Co for APCM’s Swanscombe Quarry in Kent. Number 6 was built as works number 3860 in 1935.
When APCM disposed of the locomotives in 1970, they asked the ARPS to help, and through Captain Peter Manisty, the ARPS Chairman, they agreed to donate No. 6 to the Middleton Railway, and No. 3 was sold to the Quainton Railway Society.
No. 6 arrived at Middleton in 1971 and the engine was tested and put into service and operated for four years before the locomotive’s boiler tubes began to fail and were pulled from service for an overhaul.
The railway, at the time, had limited facilities, so the locomotive was stored for a number of years until a restoration began in the early 2000s.
Interestingly, Swanscombe engineers considered the boiler to be the main part of the locomotive, unlike usual practice that considered the frames to be the main component, this meant that works plates went with the boiler, rather than the frames. So No. 6 has got the boiler from HL3860, but has other parts from No. 5!
The major overhaul of No. 6 has included sorting out the front of the frames, where the cylinders were found to be loose. The rear of the frames have been straightened, where the locomotive had clearly had an altercation at some point.
The Middleton Railway has also told RailAdvent that the boiler needed substantial repairs and an appeal helped raise the funds for this.
13th February 2021 was the first steaming of No. 6 and is now being finished off ready for service when the railway is allowed to start running services once again.
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