W G Bagnall  Works No 2994 Vulcan No 401 0-6-0ST

W Bagnall 2994 Stephenson Railway July 2010.jpg
DesignerHarold Wood
CompanyW G Bagnall
Weightt cwt
Driving Wheels4ft 3in
Boiler Pressurepsi
CylindersOutside – 18in x 24in
Tractive Effort25,250lbf
Valve GearWalschaert (piston valve)

This locomotive was built by W G Bagnall in 1951 as an 18 inch 0-6-0ST locomotive for the Steel Company of Wales (SCOW) for use at the Abbey works at Port Talbot. It was one of three such locomotives used there. Here it was numbered 401 and carried the name Vulcan after the RAF bomber.

The design was to be Bagnall’s new standard post war heavy shunter and – unusually for an industrial shunter – had a very high specification with piston valves operated by Walschaerts valve gear, fully balanced reversing gear, roller bearings on all axles and motion, rocking grate, hopper ashpan, and many low maintenance features. It was an excellent design but was very expensive for industrial duties and, with even more reliable and low maintenance diesel shunters beginning to predominate, only the three for the SCOW were built. Even they did not last long at Port Talbot, despite very impressive reliability and availablity, as they were displaced by Brush-Bagnall diesels.

2994 was purchased from SCOW in September 1957 and went to Austin’s Longbridge Works along with one other of the three engines. The third was bought by the National Coal Board for use in South Wales and was scrapped in 1967.

In November 1973 both the locomotives at Longridge were bought for preservation by the West Somerset Railway and initially stored at Taunton. Vulcan was returned to steam on the West Somerset Railway in December 1977.

The two locomotives were not suited to the operations over a line as long as the West Somerset Railway and were rough riders because of the short wheelbase. Both of these locomotives have since been preserved – 2996 Victor at the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway and 2994 Vulcan at the Stephenson Railway Museum.

In 1986 Vulcan was sold to the Metropolitan Borough of Tyneside for use at its Stephenson Railway Museum and renamed Thomas Burt MP 1837-1922. By August 2020 it no longer carried this name after being painted in its Steel Company of Wales livery.

It was anticipated that this locomotive would be returned to steam on the North Tynside Steam Railway in 2018. By the end of 2017 the boiler had passed its steam test and hydraulic tests at the North Norfolk Railway and it was returned to the North Tyneside Railway in January 2018.

In July 2018 the boiler was refitted to the frames of the locomotive.

By November 2018 it was reported that it was hoped that the locomotive would be back in steam on the North Tyneside Steam Railway in the following month.

A fire was lit in the locomotive in January 2019 followed by steam tests in early February and it enter traffic in April.

The locomotive was turned out in its original maroon livery Steel Company of Wales identity at the North Tyneside Steam Railway at the end of July 2020.It has never worn this livery before in preservation.

2994 at Tyseley – 1970
2994 at British Leyland, Longbridge – Sept 1971
2994 at Blue Anchor on the West Somerset Railway – September 1979
2994 at Minehead on the West Somerset Railway – October 1985
W Bagnall 2994 Stephenson Railway July 2010.jpg
2994 at the Stephenson Railway Museum – July 2010
2994 on the North Tyneside Steam Railway – August 2020

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