Hunslet    Works No 3783     Darfield No 1   Holly Bank No 3 0-6-0ST

Hunslet 3783 Chasewater Railway September 2015 .jpg

This locomotive was built in 1953 for the National Coal Board (NCB) by the Hunslet Engine Company to a standard 16inch design.

It started its working life with the National Coal Board (NCB) with the North Eastern Division at Darfield Main Colliery near Barnsley Here it became Darfield No 1.

At Darfield it was employed shunting 16-ton coal trucks around the colliery along with one other locomotive. It spent all of its working life based at Darfield apart from a short spell in 1959 at the nearby Houghton Main Colliery.

The mine was dieselised in 1970 and the two steam locomotives became surplus to requirements, although No. 1 was resurrected briefly in 1971 to cover for diesel failure. It remained in the engine shed until 1974, when the NCB declared them redundant and offered them for sale by tender.

A boiler examination by interested preservationists revealed that the locomotive had a reasonable boiler, apart from needing a re-tube. Otherwise it was in generally neglected state: some fittings were missing and the apple green, red, yellow and black livery was very shabby. An attempt to enter the engine shed without opening the doors first had left the bunker in an unusual shape.

In 1975 it was purchased for preservation and moved to Delph Station near Oldham.

There were no facilities for restoration work at Delph so the locomotive was moved in December 1975 to Embsay Station on the Yorkshire Dales Railway (now Embsay and Bolton Abbey Railway).

Restoration work took five years, including a new bunker, boiler repairs, and the fitting of vacuum brakes and steam heating. Its return to service came in early 1981, although a slight hitch came when the valve gear jammed in forward during the first steaming. After rectification Darfield No. 1 entered service operating between Embsay Junction and Holywell Halt.

By the end of 1983 the locomotive was withdrawn from service as it required an overhaul. All the motion was dismantled and found to be badly worn. The boiler cladding was removed for examination, revealing the dreaded blue asbestos, which had to be stripped. The motion was overhauled and reassembled for a return to service the following year, and it ran with little trouble until the end of 1987. During that time, the engine starred in an episode of the Yorkshire TV series In Loving Memory, pretending to demolish a hearse which had stalled on a level crossing.

In 1988 it was decided to move Darfield No. 1 to the Llangollen Railway, the first time the locomotive had moved out of Yorkshire. However, the boiler tubes were condemned on arrival, and therefore it was completely dismantled for inspection of all of the motion at the same time. The boiler was refitted in June 1990 and the locomotive re-entered service that year.

A number of years of service followed but by 1994 it was seeing less use in favour of larger engines, and it was hired to the Avon Valley Railway for the 1994 season; it returned the following year but was soon found to require extensive boiler repairs.

The locomotive bowed out of traffic on freight duties in 1995 painted in a vivid shade of green to represent her use in industry, complete with wasp stripes front and back.

The locomotive moved to the East Lancs Railway where it remained in store until 2000. By this time, Llangollen engineering works had gained the expertise necessary to carry out the heavy boiler repair work so Darfield returned and was placed in the queue for repairs in the workshop, with work guaranteed as a hire locomotive to loan to other lines.

Restoration started in 2001. Boiler repairs included new crown stays, new blower and injector internal pipework and most importantly, the replacement of the badly wasted outer firebox above the foundation ring. The bottom end received attention in the form of new coupling rod bearings, new reverser shaft bearings, new axlebox mops and the re whitemetalling and machining of eccentrics and big ends. At the same time new rear running plates were fitted and wasted steel angle and plate on the bunker and rear bufferbeam was replaced. The cab and bunker floor comprising heavy duty plate was also replaced as the original had rotted through. Improvements to the lubrication system included the fitting of a 12 feed Wakefield mechanical lubricator.

After all work was complete, Darfield was tested and sent out as part of the growing Llangollen locomotive hire fleet, going to the Dartmoor Railway at Okehampton.

For two years Darfield, as the sole steam locomotive ran push-pull trains along the 3 miles of 1 in 70 grade line between Dartmoor and Meldon, with occasional journeys farther afield to Sampford Courtney, a further 4 miles towards Crediton on the freight only branch used by Network Rail ballast trains.

Upon return in 2008, intermediate repairs were undertaken to rectify two years of hard work, wear and tear, and then Darfield again was sent out on hire again. This time it was to the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway.

In 2011 the locomotive moved to the Chasewater Railway – initially on hire then subsequently purchased by the Chasewater Railway. In 2012 it was repainted from black into blue and took on the identity of the long since scrapped locomotive – Holly Bank No 3 (Hunslet locomotive 1451). The original Holly Bank was built to the same design by Hunslet in 1924 and worked at Hilton Main and Holly Bank Colliery’s before moving to Littleton Colliery in 1962

The locomotive is currently operational at the Chasewater Railway and is still running as Holly Bank No 3.

3783 leaving Embsay on the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway – May 1985
3783 on the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway – September 2008
Hunslet 3783  Chasewater railway March 2012.jpg
3783 on the Chasewater Railway March 2012
3783 on the Chasewater Railway – February 2015
Hunslet 3783 Chasewater Railway September 2015 .jpg
3783 on the Chasewater Railway – September 2015
3783 undergoing a major repairs inside the shed at Brownhills West on the Chasewater Railway – April 2018
3783 on the Chasewater Railway – May 2021

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