The Industrial Locomotive Society has donated 0-4-0WT Beckton No.1 to the Museum of Scottish Railways. It is the first time the well tank has returned to the country of its birth since it was built 154 years ago.
Built in 1870 by Neilson & Co of Glasgow works number 1561, Beckton No.1 is an 0-4-0 Well Tank locomotive.
It started its working life almost immediately at the Gas Light & Coke Company at Beckton in East London, where it arrived carrying the name “ALDERMAN”.
Its first duties included moving coal on the high level railway from Pier No.1 on the River Thames. By 1878, six more well tanks of the same class had arrived at the gas works to carry out a range of duties.
By placing the cylinders and valve gear outside of the frames, a well tank can be situated between them, producing a very stable locomotive with a low centre of gravity and better riding characteristics.
Beckton No.1 is recorded as having been rebuilt in the Gas Company's workshops at Beckton during 1929, however, it is not clear when the very basic original cab canopy fitted to the locomotive was removed.
In 1963 after a long career of ninety-three years Beckton No.1 was withdrawn and acquired by The Industrial Locomotive Society and by December 1963 was moved to the National Trust's Industrial Railway Museum at Penrhyn Castle, North Wales, where the locomotive has been on extended loan undercover and on display.
Last year the National Trust decided that locomotives with no connection to North Wales should be relocated to other locations and from here the well tank has made its way to the Museum of Scottish Railways at Bo'ness.
Dr Becky Peacock, Museum Director said ‘We are very grateful to the Industrial Locomotive Society for donating Beckton No.1 to the Museum of Scottish Railways. The locomotive is a wonderful addition to the collection'.
Beckton No.1 will go on display with No.1 Lord Roberts and Maude, both of which were built much later at the same locomotive works in Glasgow.