Neilson & Co     Works No 2119    Great Eastern Railway 229 0-4-0ST


Power ClassificationUnclassified
Introduced1874 – 1934
DesignerNeilson & Co
Weight21t 4cwt
Driving Wheels3ft 7ins
Boiler Pressure140psi
CylindersOutside – 12in x 20in
Tractive Effort7,970lbf
Valve GearStephenson – (slide valves)

This locomotive is a member of what became the LNER Y5 class. The first locomotive of the class was built in 1874 by Neilson & Co who built eight 0-4-0ST locomotives to this design until 1903. One (68081) survived to be taken in BR stock but was withdrawn from service in 1948 and scrapped.

The design was unusual as the coal bunker straddled the boiler behind the saddle tank instead of the more usual position behind the cab.

Neilson & Co built Works No 2119 in 1876 for the Great Eastern Railway as a class 209 locomotive which carried the number 229.

229 was used used for some time to test carriage brakes for which it was fitted with Westinghouse and vacuum brake equipment and steam heating apparatus.

After being deployed as a shunter at Stratford works 2119 was sold to the Admiralty in 1917 who employed the locomotive at Beackley Dock in Chepstow.

As a result of the number of merchant ships lost in the First World War the government established a number of national shipyards of which Chepstow was one. As a result all shipbuilding companies at Chepstow came under government control.

Theses shipyards were expanded to form National Shipyard Number 1 (Chepstow). Over 6,000 men from the Royal Engineers built the shipyard, and men from Tyneside and the Clyde came to work at the yard. Garden cities were built for the workers in Hardwick, Bulwark and Pennsylvania. The concrete blocks used to construct the houses were produced by German prisoners of war. Camps were built for the workers, along with workshops, a power station and hospital.

In 1925 Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd bought and later dismantled the shipyard. At the same time 2119 came under the ownership of Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd.

In due course the company became Fairfield-Mabey Ltd who now specialise in steelwork for bridges and other structures.

In 1982 the locomotive was sold by Fairfield-Mabey Ltd and after cosmetic restoration it was placed on display at the North Woolwich Old Station Museum in East London which opened in 1984.

Newham Council closed the museum in 2008 and the locomotive moved to the Flour Mill in June of that year where it is planned to undertake a full restoration of the locomotive.

It is understood that restoration work started in 2015 and progress to date is described below.

  • The restoration of a locomotive of the rarity of 229 from its current condition presents a major dilemma, namely that of conservation of components versus operational expediency.
  • Despite being out of use for so long the chassis was in surprisingly good condition although the hornplocks needed replacing.
  • The mainframes and cylinders were in generally good condition although some work was required to strengthen a section that had corroded.
  • As with any locomotive that has been in open storage for a long time, the platework showed signs of a considerable amount of corrosion and total renewal of the fooplate/running boards and coal bunkers has been necessary.
  • One platework component that was found to be reusable was the cab, which will be fitted to the restored locomotive. The saddle tank, however, needs to be replaced by a new stainless-steel item, thus obviating the need for the unpleasant task of treating its inner surface with bitumen paint.
  • The conservation versus replacement dilemma is no better illustrated than with the cast-iron smokebox saddle. This is a well-used item and it has suffered a fair amount of damage over the years, but it is still serviceable in its present condition, despite the fact that it is not feasible to weld in replacement sections for the damaged areas. It has therefore been decided to retain this item in the restoration.
  • The boiler requires a great deal of attention and although the ‘as received’ barrel is to be retained, the inner firebox and leading tubeplate are to be replaced, along with the smokebox.
Home BaseCurrent StatusOwner
  The Flour Mill, Forest of Dean  Under overhaul  Bill Parker
2119 at Fairfield Mabey Engineering – circa 1969
2119 in the Chepstow yard of Fairfield Mabey – My 1972
Neilson 2119 at Fairfields-Mabey, Chepstow - August 1976.jpg
2119 at Fairfields-Mabey, Chepstow – August 1976
2119 at North Woolwich Old Station Museum – July 1986
Neilson 2119 at North Woolwich Station - August 2018.jpg
2119 at North Woolwich Station – 1980s
Neilson 2119 at the Flour Mill - July 2016.jpg
2119 at the Flour Mill – July 2016

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