Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn     Works No 7170         WD 71516   Welsh Guardsman 0-6-0ST

Robert Stephenson Hawthorn 7170 Gwili Oct 2017.jpg

See LNER class J94 for details.

This locomotive was built in 1944, to a Hunslet Engine Company design, by Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn for the Ministry of Defence.

It was delivered to the Ministry of Fuel & Power who based it at East Cramlington in Northumberland.

In 1947 the locomotive was sold to the National Coal Board (NCB) to work in Northumberland.

It then spent time at Hartley Main Colliery, Killingworth, West Moor Colliery at Ashington, East Cramlington, Swalwell opencast mine, Widdrington opencast mine and Broomhill opencast mine before going to Cynheidre Colliery in January 1959.

Its next move was to Graig Merthyr Colliery in October 1968.

Cynheidre was developed by the National Coal Board as part of the investments after the Second World War to keep coal mining as a viable economic industry.  Between 1954 and 1956 the first of four shafts was sunk to a depth of 760 yards. By 1960 the colliery employed 650 men.

It was known that the coal field suffered from methane gas intrusion and in April 1971 six miners died in the worst outbreak of methane gas and fine coal dust to take place in Britain.

From 1976 until 1980 the locomotive was kept as a source of spares at Pontarddulais near Swansea, before being saved by the Welsh Industrial & Maritime Museum.

The locomotive was restored at Bronwydd Arms on the Gwili Railway with the aid of parts from other locomotives. The boiler is from Hunslet Works No 3822 and the cab from Bagnall Works No 2758.

The locomotive carries its war department number 71516 and was named Welsh Guardsman in a special ceremony at Bronwydd Arms. Following an overhaul at Llangollen the locomotive is now privately owned by Felinfoel Brewery and was rededicated at a ceremony at Bronwydd Arms on in June 2014.

The locomotive was based on the Gwili Railway under a long term hire agreement but moved to the Severn Valley Railway in early 2020. It remains in full working order but will undergo some examination and maintenance work at the SVR.

The locomotive could be used on the SVR as well as going out on hire. It is not suitable for normal SVR trains as it has a low water capacity.

7170 at NCB Cynheidre – circa 1967
Robert Stephenson Hawthorn 7170 Gwili Oct 2017.jpg
7170 at the Gwili Railway – October 2017
7170 at Danycoed Halt on the Gwili Railway – August 2018

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