This locomotive was built in 1943 by the Hunslet Engine Company for the Ministry of Defence. It then entered service as WD 75019.
See LNER class J94 for details.
In 1963 the locomotive was rebuilt by the Hunslet Engine Company and then became Works Number 3883. The rebuild was the result of a bid to meet stringent restrictions on smoke emissions.
The Argentinian, Ing. L.D.Porta was commissioned by the Hunslet company to design certain modifications. Following the company becoming aware of Porta technology when, unsuccessfully, bidding for the contract to build the second batch of 75cm gauge 2-10-2 locomotives for RFIRT, Argentina.
Research suggests the locomotives may not have been quite as Porta would have wished. It is felt something could have been lost ‘in the translation’ between Argentina and the UK. However despite some shortcomings these locomotives did serve an important purpose in the development of steam. They were the very first application of Porta’s work outside of his native Argentina.
The rebuild involved fitting a form of Kylpor ejector system and the provision of a underfeed stoker with a modification the coal bunker to allow a hopper feed to the stoker.
Locomotive No.3883 was sent to BR Swindon in late January 1963 and for a week in February 1963 it was utilised as Swindon MPD pilot locomotive. This period allowed experiments to be undertaken with various coal sizes. Later in February the locomotive was formally handed over to the BR Research Department (Swindon) for controlled road test. The testing was undertaken over the approximately 18 miles stretch of mainline between Yarnton and Kingham on the Oxford – Worcester mainline, today called the Cotswold Line.
Tests on Works Number 3883 demonstrated significant improvements over a standard locomotive with a steaming rate of 12,000lbs/hour being achieved compared with 6,000lbs/hour for an unmodified locomotive. A maximum output of 898hp was recorded, a very impressive figure for what was a shunting locomotive. These tests were the last time a steam locomotive was formally tested by British Railways with a dynamometer car.
After testing it operated at Glasshoughton, Castleford as Coal Products No.6.
It was based at the Rutland Railway Museum until 2008 when it left to go to Peak Rail under a long-term agreement with the owner. Whilst it was at Rutland most of the gas producer system (including the Kylpor blastpipe and chimney) which was fitted during the rebuild in 1963 was removed. It has been operational at Peak Rail since 2011.
In early 2018 it was revealed that legal action had been instigated against Peak Rail by the locomotive owners (Grinsty Holdings Ltd) over alleged outstanding hire fees.The locomotive had been contracted for 75 steamings per annum but it was alleged that the railway had actually steamed the locomotive for in excess of 260 additional days over a five year period without informing the owners. It has been said that Peak Rail agreed to pay £130,000 to Grinsty Holding Ltd in an out of court settlement in 2017 although court costs may need to be paid on top of this.
The locomotive is now out of service whilst it awaits an overhaul.
|2868-3883 at Peak Rail – March 2013|