4965 was built at Swindon February 1930, and was one of 258 Hall 4900 class steam locomotives constructed.
Its first shed allocation was Plymouth Laira and after 32 years of service it ended up at Oxford. During this time it was allocated to sheds in Penzance, Tyseley, Severn Tunnel Junction, Cardiff Canton, and ended its days in the London Division of the Western Region of British Railways, based at Southall, Reading, Didcot and finally Oxford in July 1958. It was used for a variety of duties including fast passenger service and freight.
It was withdrawn from service in December 1963 and acquired by Woodham Brothers scrapyard in June 1964.
4965 Rood Ashton Hall was the first Hall to leave Barry, then thought to be 4983 Albert Hall, which was purchased in 1970 by 7029 Clun Castle Ltd. It was to take 31 years to restore the engine.
This locomotive was previously identified as 4983 Albert Hall, having been rebuilt in 1962 using parts from both original engines Albert Hall and Rood Ashton Hall. Both locomotives had their numbers stamped onto their respective parts. The purchasing group of enthusiasts thought they were buying 4983 Albert Hall but after later restoration discovered some of the parts had been stamped 4965 and some 4983. Rood Ashton Hall now has plates and numbers on one side that say 4983 Albert Hall for enthusiasts to see once again but still hauls Rood Ashton Hall’s original tender. Albert Hall’s original tender was a large Collett tender, so the only incarnation of 4983 Albert Hall and tender is Hornby’s tri-ang model.
The count-down to the exchange of identities appears to start in January 1961 when 4983 was taken on to Swindon works for a general repair. After 77 days on shops 4983 was outshopped on April 1961 newly fitted with boiler number 2800. The engine seems to have quickly run into trouble for it was back at Swindon in July 1961 for what turned out to be almost uniquely shown on the engine record card as a “continuation of HG repair”.
What transpired is not recorded. What is certain is that 4983 spent the not inconsiderable time of a further 78 days stopped for this attention, finally being outshopped in September 1961.
Six months later the engine was in trouble again with a further visit to Swindon for what is shown as a light casual repair starting on March 1962. There is nothing terribly unusual in this apart from the fact that this repair took 74 days to complete, a period that can only be considered somewhat excessive for a Light Casual. The completion of this repair is benchmarked photographically by the fitting for the only time in 4983’s existence with a 4000 gallon Hawksworth type tender.
It is also likely that 4965 had been taken on to Swindon for a classified repair and that some expensive work on the boiler had been found to be necessary. In the circumstances, it would appear totally logical to take boiler 2800 which had given less than 9 months service from a major repair and to refit it to a set of frames which were in reasonable order. Whilst the normal practice was to allocate the engine’s number to the frame, we suspect that in this instance the Board of Trade regulations governing the overhaul of boilers and classification of repairs may have influenced the situation. Changing the boiler from one engine to another would have required the declaration of a heavy general repair, and this would require further work to be undertaken on a boiler that probably didn’t require the work to be done. The answer was obvious – change the number!
Once this skullduggery had taken place it would have been a simple matter to despatch the remnants of the two engines to the scrapyard at ‘C’ shop and to show 4965 as condemned and cut up, as all of the clerical work would have been retrospective and simply recorded by a trusting clerk remote from the “economical with the truth” staff on the shop floor at Swindon.
This act would have remained totally undetected for eternity had it not been for the fact that the impostor 4983 was withdrawn in December 1963, and eventually sent to the infamous Barry scrapyard. During October 1970 4983 was bought by 7029 Clun Castle Limited for preservation and moved to Tyseley on its own wheels.
In November 2008, Rood Ashton Hall was taken out of service for overhaul after hauling the Rood Ashton Hall Farewell train from Solihull to Didcot Parkway to Didcot Parkway.
In its first 10-year main line stint the engine has visited a great many places with tours, many of which had not previously been visited by a Hall class locomotive. Destinations include Paddington, Blackpool, Bristol, Carlisle, Chester, Coalville, Didcot, Holyhead, Kettering, Kidderminster, Lincoln, Marylebone, Melton Mowbray, Newport, Oakham, Ruddington, Worcester, York.
The engine’s 10-year overhaul took just a few months due to an ongoing programme of maintenance work that had been previously carried out during periods of low main line activity. It returned to the mainline in October 2009.
During 2009, it operated two Shakespeare Express services between Birmingham snow Hill and Stratford-upon-Avon. On 31 August 2009, 4953 operated a railtour to Corby, via the Harringworth Viaduct. In October 2009 it ran as a light engine with 5029 Nunney Castle and support coach to the West Somerset Railway Gala.
After the 2010 Tyseley Locomotive Works steam, the locomotive was moved to the Great Central Railway. It then visited the Llangollen Railway, double heading with GWR 3717 City of Truro, and operating at the West Somerset Railway before returning to Loughborough.
The boiler certificate is due to expire in September 2019.
|Home Base||Current Status||Owner|
|Tyseley||Operational||7029 Clun Castle Limited|
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