Hunslet   Works No 1873 Jessie 0-6-0ST

Hunslet 1873 at Crewe Works Open Day - September 2005.jpg

This locomotive was built in 1937 by the Hunslet Engine Company and was delivered new to Guest Keen & Baldwins Iron & Steel Company. It spent all of its working life at  the East Moors steelworks in Cardiff as no 18 in the fleet.

Main features of the locomotive-

  • Tractive Effort – 22,150lbf
  • Boiler Pressure – 170psi
  • Cylinders – 18 inch x 22 inch
  • Wheels – 4 feet 0½ inch
  • Weight – 46 tons 7 cwt

The massive size of its buffer beam indicates how hard it was expected to work as an industrial engine hauling ladle wagons of slag to the sea shore tip, or pushing 100 – 150 ton torpedo wagons of molten iron ore between the blast furnaces and the melting shop. It could pull trains of over 1000 tons on the level.

It was withdrawn from service in 1965 and presented to the City of Cardiff where it was put on display at Splott Park near the steelworks. Here it was provided with steps and railings to allow close inspection, but the activities of the vandals covered it in graffiti, and in due course it lost its whistle and dome cover. By 1979 it was in a deteriorating condition and was put up for sale by the Council.

A member of the Dean Forest Railway examined the locomotive and was impressed with its general condition as it had been well prepared for being displayed in the open air. After having his bid for the locomotive accepted he moved it to Norchard where it was dismantled in readiness for being restored.

He put in a bid and was successful in buying it. As an active member of the Dean Forest Railway, he arranged for the locomotive to be recovered from the park in February 1980, and it was transported to Norchard on the Dean Forest Railway. There it was dismantled as the first stage of restoring it to working order.

As the owner (Mike Pearce) moved to Llangollen to work in the locomotive department the restoration of the locomotive came temporarily to a halt. After some negotiation, the frames and associated parts were delivered to Llangollen in 1998, and the owner proceeded with restoration in his spare time.

The culmination of efforts on the locomotive came towards the end of Decmeber 2003, when it moved for the first time under its own steam.

Following an another overhaul the locomotive re-entered service on the Llangollen Railway in February. During the overhaul it was converted from a saddle tank to a side tank engine and painted blue so that it could run as Thomas the Tank Engine.

In 2019 the locomotive was converted back to its saddle tank self and became a permanently based on the Pontypool & Blaenavon Railway.

The boiler certificate is valid until 2023.

Hunslet 1873 at Crewe Works Open Day - September 2005.jpg
Hunslet 1873 at Crewe Works Open Day – September 2005
Hunslet 1873  Llangollen Railway  July 2015.jpg
1873 at the Llangollen Railway – July 2015
1873 At Blaenavon High Station on the Pontypool & Blaeravon Railway – May 2019
1873 heads from Blaenavon High Level towards Furnace Sidings with a load of wingcutter wagons from the Great Central Railway – September 2019
HUnslet 3839 in front of 1873 on the Blaenavon Heritage Railway – June 2022
1873 at Bridgnorth on the Severn Valley Railway – September 2022

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