This locomotive was built in 1944, to a Hunslet Engine Company design, by Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn for the Ministry of Defence and started life at Donnington near Telford in Shropshire. The locomotive was then numbered WD150.
See LNER class J94 for details.
The Donnington site was established in 1936 as one of a number of less vulnerable locations for storing ordnance and other military equipment previously kept at London’s Woolwich Arsenal. This was designed to provide employment in what was then a depressed area, following the closure of the Lilleshall Company’s New Yard engineering works in St George’s several years earlier. Construction of the depot, adjoining the north side of the railway, began in 1938. The first stores were brought from Woolwich in 1939 and the depot was completed in 1943.
In 1955 the locomotive was moved to the Central Ordnance Depot at Bicester where it was given the name Royal Pioneer.
In 1956 it was transferred to MoD Kineton in Warwickshire where it was unnamed as the name was given to WD113 at Bicester when WD150 moved. WD113 retained the name until it was scrapped in 1963.
In 1963 WD 75186 was one of fifteen that were sold to the Hunslet Engine Company who rebuilt it. 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.
Following rebuilding the locomotive was given the Hunslet Engine Company Works No 3892.
The rebuilt locomotive was sold by Hunslet directly into preservation in 1969 when it was bought by the Bahamas Locomotive Society and moved to Dinting. Here it was given the name Warrington. The Dinting motif power depot site had been leased to the Bahamas Locomotive Society at the end of 1968 and became the Dinting Railway Museum. The museum closed in 1991, the society and its collection moved to the former Midland Railway goods warehouse at Ingrow West railway station near Keighley. 3892 though moved to Peak Rail in 1990.
At Peak Rail the locomotive was re-tubed and had vacuum brakes and carriage heating equipment fitted to enable it to haul passenger trains.
It has since run in the guise of Royal Pioneer and J94 class BR 68013 (which was scrapped in 1964).
The locomotive is currently undergoing an overhaul at Rowsley at Peak Rail.