Works No 6158 Sirapite 0-4-0WT Aveling & Porter

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This locomotive was built in 1906 by Aveling & Porter.

It was originally used at the gypsum mine at Mountefield in Sussex where a mile long branch line was used to transport material to the Tonbridge-Hastings line.

In 1929 the locomotive was bought by traction engine manufacturer Richard Garrett & Sons and it spent 33 years in service on the Leiston Works Railway where it was employed as the works shunter.

The Leiston Works Railway was a private railway that ran from Leiston railway station on the Aldeburgh Branch Line of the Great Eastern Railway to the engineering works of Richard Garrett & Sons. The railway was operated by Suffolk Punch horses hauling coal and iron from the main line to the Garrett Works until Sirapite was acquired.

Sirapite was replaced in 1962 by a battery electric locomotive which was subsequently scrapped following the closure of the railway in 1968.

After closure of the works, part of the complex was preserved as the Long Shop Museum, while Sirapite survived, unrestored, in the private collection of Sir William McAlpine.

The locomotive later returned to Leiston and was restored to steam again in 2009 by its new owners, the Long Shop Museum, after a five year effort with the aid of Heritage Lottery funding. 

In 2019 the Leiston Works Railway Trust laid a 250-yard stretch of line over some of the original track bed that it had acquired near to the Long Shop Museum and where, it is hoped Sirapite may steam again.

The locomotive was moved temporarily to the Mid-Suffolk Light Railway in 2019.

Due to not being fitted with vacuum braking (as it was built as a goods engine and not a locomotive for passenger services), it could not haul passenger trains. The engine visited the Mid Suffolk Light Railway for the purpose of shunting, hauling light freight services.

The locomotive is currently operational at the Long Shop Museum at Leiston.

Sirapite at Brockford on the Mid Suffolk Railway – June 2019
6158 at the Yaxham Light Railway – September 2019

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