Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn Works No 7803 Beckton Gas Works No 35 0-4-0F

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This locomotive was built by Robert Stephenson & Hawthorns in the 1954 for the large North Thames Gas Board’s Beckton gasworks in east London.  

It was one of two fireless locomotives based there. These locomotives had a steam accumulator rather than a boiler and it was charged up with steam from a stationary boiler. This type of engine did not produce sparks and hence there was no fire risk.

They were in use up to 1969 when North Sea gas brought an end to these large establishments.

The Gaseworks at Beckton was opened in 1870 and was owned at that time by the Gas Light & Coke Company. The name Beckton was given to the plant and the surrounding area of east London in honour of the company’s governor Simon Adams Beck.

The plant eventually to manufacture gas for most of London north of the Thames.

Following nationalisation in 1949 the plant was owned by the North Thames Gas Board. By this time Beckton was the largest gas works in the world.

At its peak Beckton had employed 4,500 people.

The locomotive was sold in Carless Capel & Leonard Ltd in 1972 and moved to its Harwich Refinery in Parkeston in Essex. This was to save the locomotive from being scrapped. It was then plinthed after the idea of running the locomotive using compressed air was dropped.

By 2000 the company was in the process of being taken over by another company and the management at Carless Capel & Leonard Ltd were concerned that the locomotive might be scrapped. As a result, the locomotive was acquired by Stephen Pye in October 2000

The locomotive spent the next fifteen years outside the owner’s house at Bramford near Ipswich.

The locomotive was then bought by Alan Forward who had driven past the engine and who collected old machinery. The new owner planned to display the locomotive with his other vintage vehicles at Stonham where it was moved to in 2015.

Subsequently the locomotive was moved to an adjacent camping field next to a small playground which is part of Stonham Barns Retail Village in Suffolk.

7803 dumped at Carless Capel, Parkeston – June 1975

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