Hawthorn Leslie    Works No 3437 Isabel 0-6-0ST

Hawthorn Leslie 3437  Colne Valley Railway  February 2010.jpg

This locomotive was built by Hawthorn Leslie in 1919 for Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) foodstuffs she was delivered new to their Blackley (Manchester) dye plant that year. It was given the name Isabel.

It worked at Blackley until it was withdrawn from service in 1969.

During its time with ICI it had a fairly uneventful career and the only known incident occurred during the General Strike of 1926. Whilst being driven by a team of enthusiastic amateurs it ran away, demolished the locomotive shed doors and wrote off another locomotive which was standing in the shed. It is rumoured that this is where it gained the flat spot on its wheels which it still carries.

After withdrawal the locomotive’ went straight in to preservation at the fledgling Somerset and Dorset Trust Site at the former Radstock Station site. From photographic evidence it appears that the locomotive spent some time at Ingrow on the Keighley Worth Valley Railway in the 1960s.

Little if any restoration work was undertaken before the Radstock site closed and Trust relocated to Washford on the West Somerset Railway in 1975. No work was then undertaken on Isabel until 1998 and it was not until October 2005 that the locomotive returned to steam.

In 2007 the locomotive was sold to a new owner and it was moved to the Cambrian Railways site at Llynclys Junction. As it was seldom used there it was sold again and in 2010 it became the first steam locomotive to be owned by the Epping Ongar Railway.

It moved to North Weald on the Epping Ongar Railway in 2012 and was found to be in a poor condition. In August 2012 it was discovered that it had a number of leaking tubes and mechanical faults and it was taken out of service for a complete overhaul despite having three years left on the boiler certificate.

The overhaul commenced in 2014 and in July 2017 the locomotive passed its initial steam tests. After this Isabel was rebuilt and back in traffic by September 2017.

It is used on the Epping Ongar Railway on low season services and at special events.

3437 at Ingrow on the Keighley Worth Valley Railway in the 1960s
3437 at Radstock – September 1974
3437 at Radstock – September 1974
Hawthorn Leslie 3437.jpg
3437 on the Swindon & Cricklade Railway – July 2006
Hawthorn Leslie 3437  Colne Valley Railway  February 2010.jpg
3437 on the Colne Valley Railway 2010

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