Hudswell Clarke    Works No 1709  No 5 Slough Estates 0-6-0ST

Hudswell Clarke 1709.jpg

This locomotive was built in 1939 by Hudswell Clarke for the Slough Trading Estate.

It was used to haul wagons between the factories on the Estate and Slough Goods Yard, which was sited adjacent to the GWR mainline between Paddington and Reading.

Following a series of national strikes that saw freight transfer from rail to road, plus the general decline in wagonload freight in the 1960s, and the conversion of the Trading Estate power station (latterly Slough Heat and Power) from coal to oil, No.5’s duties changed. Along with near-identical sister engine No. 3 (Hudswell Clarke Works Number 1544), the remaining duties were the once-a-fortnight trip workings of 25T heavy oil tankers from the Goods Yard spur to the Power Station. A duty which ensured they were among the last steam locomotives working in industrial service in the south-east of England.

Around 1970 there was a move towards having the oil delivered in 100T bogie tank wagons. This would have required the track to be upgraded but it was calculated that it worked out cheaper to build a new unloading facility near the Goods Yard, and install a pipeline to the Power Station, rather than invest in the railway. Hence Slough Estates decided to close the railway, and dispose of the locomotives.

Both of the surviving engines were saved for preservation with No 3 now at the Middleton Railway.

After the locomotive finished working at the Slough Estate it moved to the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Railway where it was soon back in service as it was in good condition. It has subsequently had another overhaul but is now out of service whilst it awaits a very major overhaul. The locomotive will be cosmetically restored and displayed in the museum building which is being constructed.

The locomotive was reported to be undergoing an overhaul in the summer of 2020.

Hudswell Clarke 1709 near the Weston Wagon Wheel chocolate biscuit factory on Buckingham Avenue – circa 1966
Hudswell Clarke 1709 near the Weston Wagon Wheel chocolate biscuit factory on Buckingham Avenue – circa 1966
1709 at Slough Estates Ltd – circa 1967
Hudswell Clarke 1709.jpg
1709 on the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway – May 1982
1709 at Embsay on the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway – June 1983
1709 having a cosmetic overhaul at the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway – June 2019

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