Hudswell Clarke    Works No 1539  Derek Crouch 0-6-0ST

Hudswell Clarke 1539.jpg

This locomotive was built by Hudswell Clarke in 1924 for Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons and cost £1,800. It was used from new at Bushey and Oxhey Station near Watford. It was used there on McAlpine contracts to construct the Watford bypass which was built between 1924 and 1926. It carried the plates lettered Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons No 46.

It worked on further McAlpine contracts including-

  • Tilbury Docks 1926-1929
  • Southampton Dock extension 1929-1933
  • Cheddar Reservoir for Bristol and Minehead corporations 1933
  • Cardiff (East Moors Plant of British Iron & Steel Co Ltd 1933-1935
  • Ebbw Vale works of Richard Thomas & Co Ltd 1936-1938

After undertaking these duties it returned to the McAlpine depot at Hayes in 1938.

In January 1940 the locomotive was sold to John Mowlem & Co who renamed it Hayle. It was then used in the construction of Swynnerton Royal Ordance Factory near Stone. By 1943 the locomotive was placed in store at the Hatfield yard of Mowlem.

The Ministry of Agriculture then purchased the locomotive and it was delivered by road by Pickfords Road Transport to the Methwold end of the Wissington Light Railway. The Wissington Light Railway was a network of lines which connected the BSC factory at Downham Market with the LNER Stoke Ferry branch line, and many of the farms across the neighbouring fens. The locomotive was used to carry freight from the farms and factories to the mainline sidings.

Around 1947 the locomotive was sent to Doncaster works where it was given a complete overhaul. It was then employed for a short time as a work shunter before returning to the Wissington Light Railway.

In July 1957 the locomotive was sold to Thos W Ward Ltd, along with the track and fitments of the Wissington Light Railway following the closure of the railway.

The locomotive was then purchased by Derek Crouch (Contractors) Ltd for use at an open cast coal working in Widderington, Northumberland. The locomotive was renamed Derek Crouch. It remained in work until 1970 when it was placed in store in Eye on the outskirts of Peterborough.

In 1972 it was placed on permanent loan to the Peterborough Railway Society (now the Nene Valley Railway) and it was restored there and returned to steam in 1973.

In 1974, running as Derek Crouch, it hauled the first train on the railway.

It was taken out of service in 1982 and placed on static display. This was because as a small engine it had limited use on the railway.

In 2019 it was revealed that the locomotive would be steamed again on the Nene Valley Railway to mark both its centenary and 50 years since it was the first locomotive to run on the railway.

Hudswell Clarke 1539 NCBOE Widdrington - September 1964.jpg
1539 NCBOE Widdrington – September 1964
1539 at Wansford on the Nene Valley Railway -December 1983
1539 when named Ryan at Wansford on the Nene Valley Railway – December 1989
1539 on the Nene Valley Railway – March 1999
1539 at the Nene Valley railway – July 2008
Hudswell Clarke 1539 at Wansford on the Nene Valley Railway - April 2015.jpg
1539 at Wansford on the Nene Valley Railway – April 2015
1539 at Wansforth on the Nene Valley Railway – September 2015
Hudswell Clarke 1539.jpg
1539 at Wansford on the Nene Valley Railway – May 2018
1539 on the Nene Valley Railway – January 2020

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