W G Bagnall  Works 2668     No2 Cranford 0-6-0ST

WB 2668  Rocks By Rail July 2011.jpg

This locomotive was built in 1942 by W G Bagnall with 15inch cylinder as one of a batch of six engines.

It was specifically designed for ironstone quarrying duties in Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire as part of the wartime pressure to expand production. The design included full mechanical lubrication systems and a pivoted crosshead arrangement to allow for the sharp corners often associated with the quarries and otherwise a limit on working six coupled locomotives.

In industrial service the locomotive worked for Staveley Minerals Ltd at Cranford Ironstone Quarry in Northamptonshire where it was given the number 2. The only time spent away from Cranford was in 1946 when it was loaned for a short time to Pilton Quarries.

The locomotive worked at the quarries until August 1969 when the quarries closed.

Following a brief period at Overstone Solarium in Northampton in 1970 the locomotive moved to Steam Town at Carnforth where the railwaymen described it as being very strong and free steaming. The locomotive arrived at the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway having had a substantial amount of work carried out on it, but problems surfaced as it ran hot on numerous occasions whilst in traffic, and was very weak. The latter problem was quickly cured, but the former took a lot longer. Eventually this was traced to being a misalignment of the frames. At some point in the locomotives history at Cranford Ironstone Quarry, it had been involved in an accident with another steam locomotive and its frames had been knocked an eighth of an inch out of true. Although this may not seem much, it had a great effect as everything was newly overhauled. After the remedial work was completed the locomotive again proved to be very capable of hauling trains on the line, and has been one of the main engines since 1999, clocking up over 2000 miles each year.

Since then, the locomotive has required further work – this time focusing on the boiler, owing to the deterioration of some of the stays in the firebox (on two occasions). This work was completed promptly, and the locomotive was returned to service, with a new set of tubes as well.

In 2005, Cranford visited the North Yorkshire Moors Railway before being withdrawn later in the year for a ten year overhaul.

In 2006 the owner sold the locomotive and it moved to Rocks by Rail (The Living Ironstone Museum) at Cottesmore in Rutland.

The locomotive is currently at the end of its last ten year boiler certificate and it is hoped that it will shortly undergo an overhaul to operational condition.

WB 2668  Rocks By Rail July 2011.jpg 2668 at Rocks By Rail – July 2011
Bagnall 2668 at Rocks by Rail - June 2017.jpg 2668 at Rocks by Rail – June 2017

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