Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn     Works No 7289         WD 71480 Fred 0-6-0ST

Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn Works No 7289 at Haworth - May 1971.jpg

This locomotive was built in 1945, to a Hunslet Engine Company design, by Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn  for the Ministry of Defence.

See LNER class J94 for details.

The locomotive was delivered new to the Longmoor Military Railway for storage in July 1945.

It was bought by Manchester Collieries in November 1945 and left the Longmoor Military Railway in April 1946. It was then used at Walkden Colliery where it gained the name Fred.

Several of the engines on this system were named after prominent colliery employees. This locomotive was named after the late Fred Hilton who at one time had been the locomotive superintendent of the Manchester Collieries railway system.

After the nationalisation of the coal industry and the forming of the National Coal Board (NCB) in January 1947 it came under the control of the NCB West Lancashire Area.

The locomotive was subsequently employed at Bickershaw Colliery near Leigh and West Leigh Colliery before going to the workshops at Walkden Colliery with a cracked cylinder in 1949.

It later spent time at Bickershaw Colliery before undergoing repairs by Pearson & Knowles at the Dallam Forge in Warrington from November 1953 until February 1954 although this may only have been for work on the boiler.

By April 1954 the locomotive was noted working again at Bickershaw Colliery. Whilst based there it made a number of visits to the workshops at Kirkless and Walkden.

It was fitted with an underfeed stoker in 1963 as part of a rebuild.

In the early 1960s Hunslet Engine Company rebuilt a number of  locomotives that had been supplied to the Ministry of Defence. 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.

This locomotive was rebuilt in this way in 1963 – I presume by Hunslet although I cannot find any reference to a Hunslet works number.

By the time the locomotive arrived at Haworth on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway in 1969 the underfeed stoker was defunct and was subsequently removed in December 1969. The locomotive was restored at Haworth and operated there for a number of years.

The locomotive is now part of the Somerset & Dorset Locomotive Collection and is based at Tyseley where it is being overhauled.

Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn Works No 7289 at Haworth - May 1971.jpg
7289 at Haworth – May 1971
7289 at Haworth on the KWVR – August 1990
Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn 7289.jpg
7289 at Tyseley – June 2008

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