|Company||Oxfordshire Ironstone Company|
|Driving Wheels||3ft 9in|
|Cylinders||Outside – 16in x 24in|
This locomotive was built in 1918 by Hudswell Clarke to work for the Oxfordshire Ironstone Company, of Banbury. It was one of two 0-6-0T engines supplied by Hudswell Clarke – Sir Thomas became no1 and no 2 was given the name Lord North but it has not survived into preservation.
Sir Thomas was named after Sir Thomas Pope, the first owner of Wroxton Abbey, which was close to the company’s workings. Sir Thomas was relatively unusual for an industrial locomotive in that it was fitted with vacuum brake equipment from new.
Oxfordshire Ironstone Company was the second largest ironstone quarry system in the Midlands, surpassed only by Stewarts & Lloyds at Corby. At one time they owned a fleet of twenty steam locomotives which were employed in handling iron ore trains from the workings at Wroxton to the exchange sidings of the Great Western Company at Pen Hill, near Banbury, a distance of about five miles. These engines were maintained in first class condition but eventually the introduction of diesels made them redundant.
Despite being reluctant to change emphasis from steam power to diesel traction in the mid-1960s, the steam locomotives were replaced by diesels, and at the instigation of Mr E Tonks of the Birmingham Locomotive Club, Sir Thomas was saved for preservation, and presented to the Quainton Railway Society in June 1969.
Although it was out of service for several years, the locomotive Thomas had been kept under cover and well greased and was in far better order than any of the Society’s other locomotives at that time. It was therefore decided to put Sir Thomas into working order for the first steam weekend at the August Bank holiday in 1969.
In the short period prior to the bank holiday the boiler was stripped off, a hydraulic test performed, the locomotive reassembled, and a steam test performed.
Sir Thomas headed the Quainton Railway Centre’s first passenger trains along with Juno, in August 1969. Sir Thomas and Juno then bore the brunt of services for the next two years.
In 1971 very major work became necessary and it is now a long-term static exhibit.