Hawthorn Leslie    Works No 2450     No 50  Newcastle    Commander B 0-4-0ST

HL2450-1899-W.Lees-Farncombe-June1972.jpg

This locomotive was built in 1899 by Hawthorn Leslie to work for the Admiralty at Chatham Dockyard. Here it was given the name Newcastle.

In the mid 1970s it was noted as being in store at Godalming.

It moved to the Hollycombe Steam Collection at Liphook in 1985 for restoration.

This collection had been started by Commander John Baldock in the late 1940s when he decided to preserve some of the steam traction engines that were rapidly disappearing from British life. By the early 1960s he had acquired a significant collection of road vehicles and started to collect fairground rides. In the late 1960s he extended his interests again into preserving railway equipment.

A third of a mile standard gauge railway was built which was used by two steam engines of which this locomotive was one. Here it gained the name Commander B.

The collection was eventually opened to the public and became a major tourist attraction. At length the collection grew so large it became impossible for one person to maintain, and by 1984 Baldock decided he would have to close the operation.

A Society was formed by volunteers to operate the collection. This was successful and the collection continued to expand. At the beginning of 1999 a charitable trust took over the majority of the collection, funded by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant. The collection is now operated by a charitable trust.

Whilst narrow gauge lines continue to operate at the site the standard gauge line was abandoned and the locomotives left to rust.

2450 requires a heavy overhaul and expensive boiler work which it is said the organisation cannot afford. Recent reviews on Trip Advisor suggests that there are bushes growing out of the chimney. This is rather a sad state for the oldest surviving Hawthorn Leslie locomotive.

HL2450-1899-W.Lees-Farncombe-June1972.jpg 2450-W Lees, Farncombe – June1972

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