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These two photographs show Wheldale at work shortly before it was sold to the railway. They are both taken by John Furness and show Wheldale Colliery.Wheldale is a standard Austerity, from one of the first batches to be built by Hunslets. 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! The photograph on the right shows Wheldale on one of its first runs after entering preservation, still in green livery.
Wheldale came to the railway from NCB Wheldale Colliery, Castleford, where it had been at work until the early eighties. 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! The second photograph shows Wheldale carrying a plain maroon livery, shortly before its first overhaul.
Wheldale was in good mechanical condition, upon arrival, 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 90s.
Despite being sent away to Byworth
More photos of Wheldale at Embsay