Manning Wardle    Works No 2018   Littleton No 5 0-6-0ST

Manning wardle 2018 at NCB Littleton Colliery in Staffordshire - March 1970.jpg

This locomotive was built in 1922 by Manning and Wardle & Co for Littleton Collieries Ltd. It was one of two locomotives supplied and they were large industrial locomotives and amongst the first to have 18in diameter cylinders. Only three locomotives were built to this design. The locomotives were required to work the colliery yard and four mile steeply graded connecting line from the colliery to the exchange sidings at Penkridge (between Wolverhampton and Stafford).

Littleton Colliery was named after Baron Hatherton who had assumed the surname Littleton in 1812. The first workings at the mine were undertaken by the Cannock and Huntingdon Colliery Company in 1877. Upon sinking the first shaft they encountered water at a depth of 438 ft and the shaft became flooded. Lord Hatherton who owned the land on which the colliery was constructed sunk a second shaft in 1899 which was completed to a depth of 1,644 ft. A further shaft was sunk which reached a depth of 19662 ft in 1902.

The pit became one of the largest in the Midlands and the last colliery remaining on Cannock Chase. It was extensively modernised by the National Coal Board and in 1982 employed 1,900 miners, mining nearly a million tonnes of coal.

At the end of 1992, Littleton Colliery was designated as a “core” pit by the Conservative government of the time, sparing the site from the fate of hundreds of other doomed mines across the country.

A year later, in December 1993, Littleton was closed, and 800 workers lost their jobs.

The locomotive was taken out of service after 50 years service at Littleton in 1972.

The preservation life of the locomotive started at the Foxfield Railway in October 1972 but only spent a year there before moving to the Great Central Railway. It spent several years operating on the Great Central Railway before moving to the Avon Valley Railway in 1980.

After having run on the Avon Valley Railway the locomotive is currently stored there out of use.

In January 2019 it was reported that the Avon Valley Railway Heritage Trust had taken over the ownership of the locomotive. The move from private ownership was thought to enhance the chances of the locomotive being returned to steam.

By January an appeal to raise funds to cover the cost of the overhaul of the locomotive had raised over £10,000. The plan is to send the engine to the Flour Mill for an assessment of the work required to return the locomotive to steam again.

In the summer of 2020 it was reported that the locomotive was still awaiting an overhaul.

2018 at NCB Littleton Colliery – circa 1969
Manning wardle 2018 at NCB Littleton Colliery in Staffordshire - March 1970.jpg
2018 at NCB Littleton Colliery in Staffordshire – March 1970
2018 at Quorn on the Great Central Railway – March 1974
2018 at Rothley on the Great Central Railway – 1974
MW  2018  Avon Valley Railway  July 2010.jpg
 2018 at the Avon Valley Railway  July 2010
2018 at Bitton on the Avon Valley Railway – August 2019

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