We’ve a variety of locomotives, both steam and historic diesel which we use for our services. We’ve also a number of locomotives under (or awaiting) restoration in our engineering workshop and sidings. In addition, we have visiting engines from other railways to add variety and assist with our services at busy times of the year.
GWR 0-6-2T 5643
Original use: Great Western Railway No. 5643
Owned by: Furness Railway Trust
Hunslet No. 2705
Worked at NCB Ackton Hall Colliery, Pontefract, West Yorkshire.
Owner: John Beesley
Beatrice, built 1945 under an order for two locomotives for the Ministry of Supply. Works number 2705 Beatrice, and 2704 (fate unknown).
2705 was delivered to The Ackton Hall Colliery Co. at Featherstone near Pontefract, named after colliery manager’s daughter.
Because coal industry nationalisation was expected the company kept the loco in ex-works condition, steaming it once per month in order to claim maximum compensation for new plant.
Beatrice was given a major overhaul at the Hunslet works in 1964, also fitted with the “gas producer” system including an underfeed stoker. The loco was returned to Ackton Hall with a new NCB South Yorkshire Area livery of dark red rather than the original green, and now numbered S119 in the NCB fleet.
Sold into preservation in 1976, Operating from 1982 the loco has been at the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway for longer than her previous industrial career. Overhauled again and back at work in 2012, Beatrice has the upgrades of a rocking grate, hopper ashpan and a Lempor exhaust system.
Norman (Currently in disguise as NCB No. 35!)
Built: 1943 Robert Stephenson’s Locomotive, Newcastle upon Tyne, Works number 7086/43 Original use: 154 Railway Operating Company, Long Marston, 24th April 1943 in khaki livery, in readiness for the D-Day landings. Number WD5050 August 1944: Moved to the Longmoor Military railway, renumbered 75050. December 1944: shipped to France and traveled to the SNCB depot at Antwerp Dam. Utilised for local services over the next six months, it was then transferred to 155 Railway Workshops Company in May for wheel turning, returning to Antwerp, but this time the ‘south’ sheds. 19th February 1946: returned to the UK and was bought by Doncaster Amalgamated Colliery Ltd, numbered No. 35. Early 1960’s it was fitted with a Gas Producer firebox and a Kylpor exhaust. 1970: Moved to Askern Main colliery. 1976: Sold to the Titanic Steamship Company. 1979: Sold to the Kent & East Sussex Railway, re-numbered No. 27. Now owned by Southern Locomotive Group, and on hire to Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway. The engine is currently masquerading in a black livery, as another Austerity, No. 69. The true ‘No. 69’ is currently awaiting restoration in our back sidings.
Wheldale is a standard Austerity, from one of the first batches to be built by Hunslet Engine Company, Leeds. It was a development of their 18″ 50550 class – to which S112 belongs. It was built in 1944, bearing their works number 3168. Although it is referred to by its NCB number, S134, it became part of the Army’s fleet, based at Bicester, as their No. 134 – it would appear that the coal board simply added an ‘S’ prefix later!
Wheldale came to the railway from NCB Wheldale Colliery, Castleford, where it had been at work until the early 1980’s. Whilst it was at Wheldale, two ladders were fitted to the sides of the tank, to allow for easier access to the tank filler. These have been retained and serve as a good way of recognising the loco from old photos!
Wheldale arrived at the railway in good mechanical condition, but required a new set of boiler tubes – thankfully the money was raised for these quickly, and the loco was returned to service for a ten year spell until its boiler certificate expired mid way through the 1990’s.
Wheldale became one of the main locomotives in the railway’s fleet, and some publicity posters are still available featuring this – notably the current poster which shows the loco in Bolton Abbey Station in steam – which has not yet happened!
A sad, forlorn looking Wheldale can be viewed at Bolton Abbey Station – at the far end of the platform. It’s expected to move to Embsay soon when restoration starts in earnest.
Wheldale is now owned by Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway, and a huge fundraising effort is underway to fund it’s restoration. The cost of this will be substantial – well in excess of £100,000 – and that’s using our own volunteers with free labour! Fortunately, we have a handful of dedicated people who are making great progress with the fundraising – you might encounter Mike & Malc on our trains raising money.
At the beginning of 2017 we have raised nearly £40,000 – enough money to make a start purchasing items and materials for the forthcoming restoration. Clearly we’ve still got a way to go, perhaps you’d like to help us get there?
Donate to the Wheldale Restoration Fund
We’ve a large number of historic diesels, used for special events and diesel running days. A group of our volunteers known as the ‘Dales Diesel Group’ restore and maintain our fleet. More info: dalesdieselgroup.co.uk On Father’s Day, (Saturday 19th June 2016) you can ride in the cab of one our historic diesels for just £40.
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