Hunslet    Works No 2868 & 3883   WD75019  WD168   RRM 9 Coal Products No 6  Lord Phil 0-6-0ST

Hunslet 2868-3883  Peak Rail March 2013.jpg

See LNER class J94 for details.

This locomotive was built in 1943 by the Hunslet Engine Company for the Ministry of Defence and was delivered in August 1943 to the WD depot at Donnington. It then entered service as WD 75019.

It was deployed at the Proof & Experimental establishment at Shoeburyness in Essex in January 1944. In late 1951 it was transferred to Steventon in Berkshire and remained there until April 1953 when it returned to Shoeburyness.

After a visit to Bicester for repair in October 1955 it returned again to Shoeburyness where by September 1960 it was stored out of service.

In September 1961 the locomotive was sold back to the Hunslet Engine Company for rebuilding which included fitting a mechanical stoker.

It 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 the locomotive was sold to the NCB at Glasshoughton Coking plant at Castleford in Yorkshire as Coal Products No 6 in September 1963.

In February 1971 the engine was loaned to Glasshoughton Colliery for one day but never returned. By May 1972 it was regarded as a spare at the colliery and by October 1976 it was stored out of use on an isolated piece of track.

In March 1979 the locomotive moved to the Market Overton Industrial Railway Association in Leicestershire before going to the Rutland Railway Museum in January 1982.

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.

In 2019 it was understood that the locomotive had been transported to Tyseley but in the summer of 2019 it was reported to be operational at the Midland Railway at Buttersley.

2868 at the Rutland Railway Museum – August 1980
Hunslet 2868-3883  Peak Rail March 2013.jpg
2868-3883 at Peak Rail – March 2013
2868-3883 at the Midland Railway Centre at Butterley – July 2019

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