|Company||Beyer Peacock & Company|
|Driving Wheels||3ft 4in|
|Cylinders||Outside – 13½in x 20in|
This locomotive was built by Beyer Peacock & Company in 1937 to work at Baddesley Colliery at Atherstone in Warwickshire. It was named after Sir William Francis Dugdale, the son of the founder of the colliery, was the third locomotive at Baddesley to be so bestowed.
The colliery line ran from the West Coast main line in the Trent Valley and rose about 240ft in a distance just short of two miles – an average gradient of 1 in 47 and with 1 in 23 at its steepest grades. It therefore required a powerful locomotive to work on the line.
In appearance this locomotive was virtually identical to the other three Garratt locomotives supplied by Beyer Peacock for industrial service in this country, but suffered the economy of steel boiler bands and dome cover instead of brass ones on the earlier examples. The design is a genuine Garratt, the relatively small size not precluding the full use of the basic principles of the type.
The engine was returned to the makers in 1956 for general overhaul but by 1966 was worn out, only handling 18 wagon rakes compared to 16 for an Austerity 0-6-0ST.
William Frances was preserved at Bressingham in Norfolk after arriving there in 1968. For some unknown reason the engine had nearly gone to Canada as enthusiasts there were keen to buy it but for some reason the deal fell through. The price paid for the locomotive was £525 and to save money on its transportation to Bressingham in three parts – the two power units and the boiler cradle.
For this something powerful was required and Garratt William Frances built in 1937 was the answer. It was Beyer Peacock works number 6841 named after Sir William Francis Dugdale, the son of the founder of the colliery. In appearance this locomotive was virtually identical to the other three Garratt locomotives supplied by Beyer Peacock for industrial service in this country. The design is a genuine Garratt, the relatively small size not precluding the full use of the basic principles of the type.
It was owned by Mr. J R Price who purchased it in 1966 but following his death in 2013 its ownership passed to his son who gifted it to Bressingham Steam Museum.
It is the last surviving standard gauge Garratt in Britain.
The locomotive last steamed in 1980.
In May 2020 it was revealed that Bressingham had ambitions to return the locomotive to steam again provided sufficient funds could be raised.