Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn     Works No 7846   North Downs No 3 0-6-0T

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This locomotive was built in 1955 by Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn to work at Hams Hall Power Station at Sutton Coalfield. Where it became No 13. No 12 (Works No 7845) which was also delivered new to Hams Hall in 1955 was built to the same design and has also been preserved.

Weight52t 12cwt
Driving Wheels3ft 8ins
Boiler Pressure180psi
Cylindersinside – 18in x 24in
Tractive Effort27,000lbf
Valve GearStephenson

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 by the City of Birmingham. 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.

In 1957 the Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB) took over the ownership of the plant.

At the power station a fleet of powerful locomotives were employed up to the mid 1970s. They were used to haul 1,000 ton coal trains.

The locomotive operated at Hams Hall until 1972 when it was placed in store at Rye House where a siding was leased from the CEGB.

The locomotive was purchased in 1972 by the Railway Vehicle Preservation Society and later that year it was moved to Chappel and Wakes Colne in Essex (later the East Anglia Railway Museum) but was not worked on.

In 1983 the locomotive was purchased by the North Downs Steam Railway (NDSR) and moved to Higham in Kent.

Very little work was carried out until transfer to Chatham Naval Dockyard, where the boiler and wheels were removed. It was moved to the Dartford site for completion of the restoration. At this time it was named North Downs.

In 1996 the NDSR merged with the Tunbridge Wells Eridge Railway Preservation Society (TWERPS) to form the Spa Valley Railway. The locomotive became the first to run on the Spa Valley Railway at Tunbridge wells West.

It was taken out of service in October 1997 when it needed firebox repairs and did not run again at the Spa Valley Railway.

In January 2016 it was reported that the locomotive had been put up for sale by the Spa Valley Railway as a kit of parts with a rolling chassis.

The locomotive was purchased by the Ferryhill Railway Heritage Trust who are based in Aberdeen having taken over the remaining building and turntable of the former Ferryhill locomotive depot. The aim of the trust, which was established in 2007, is to restore the depot and transform the site into a working railway heritage site for the North East of Scotland.

Since the locomotive moved north an overhaul of it has been started at the firebox was sent to the North Norfolk Railway Engineering at Weybourne in February 2017.

7846 at Chatham Dockyard – 1983
RSH 7846 at Tunbridge Wells West - June 2011.jpg
846 at Tunbridge Wells West on the Spa Valley Railway – June 2011

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