This locomotive was built by Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn in 1944 to work at Hams Hall Power Station at Sutton Coalfield which was built by the City of Birmingham.
Hams Hall was a large generating station which was situated in a spacious site between the Water Orton to Tamworth and Water Orton to Whitacre Junction lines. Hams Hall A was built in 1928. Two more stations (Hams Hall B and C) were later built on the site, reputedly the largest in Europe at the time of their construction. It was quoted as burning approximately 774,000 tonnes of coal a year – much of it pulverised coal and all of it coming by rail.
The City’s electricity generating and supply functions were nationalised in the late 1940s and in 1957 the Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB) took over the ownership of the plant.
At the power station a fleet of powerful Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn 0-6-0ST locomotives were employed up to the mid 1970s. They were used to haul 1000 ton coal trains.
7151 was purchased by an Avvon Valley Railway Trust member from the CEGB.
In 1980 the locomotive was moved to the Avon Valley Railway at Bitton Station where some minor repairs and the fitment of some steam heat equipment and vacuum brakes. It then hauled Santa Special trains later that year.
In 1982 the locomotive was withdrawn from service so that it could undergo a 10 year boiler overhaul. The amount of work required had been underestimated, with her wheels, motion equipment and inner firebox all in need of attention. After considerable financial input and the best part of 17 years worth of loving restoration, it was once again in service in November 1999.
It then ran until it was taken out of service for an overhaul again in 2007.
During the summer months of 2014 the locomotive made its final appearances before been withdrawn for a major overhaul. It was then placed in store whilst it awaited its turn in the restoration queue.
Work on the locomotive has now started with volunteers stripping the locomotive down in order to ascertain what work is required to return the locomotive to steam. The hope is that a lot of the restoration work can be completed by the volunteer team to reduce the cost of the overhaul.
|7151 at CEGB Hams Hall power station – April 1978|
|7151 at Bitton on the Avon Valley Railway – November 2012|