Hawthorn Leslie, ‘Asbestos’


Asbestos up the bank


Hawthorn,Leslie 0-4-0ST, 2780 of 1909.

Built at the company’s Forth Bank Works, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The loco has outside cylinders 14” diameter x 22” stroke, 3’6” driving wheels with a fixed wheelbase of 5’6”.  Weight in working order 27.5 tons.Delivered when new to Washington Chemical Company, County Durham, which became a subsidiary of the Turner and Newall Company Ltd.  in 1920 A large industrial complex served by sidings and a half mile branch just south of Washington station on the line between Pelaw and Penshaw, the locomotive working here until 1933, when transferred to Turner and Newall, Trafford Park Works, Manchester.

The locomotive came to Chasewater in 1968 from the Turner and Newall factory, Trafford Park, Manchester, where Asbestos was produced – hence its name.  The company asked for £100 for the loco and were asked if they could wait while the Preservation Society could organize a raffle, being short of funds.  Upon realizing the situation, the company generously waived the fee and donated the loco.  Shortly after its arrival at Chasewater, Asbestos became the first locomotive to steam on the railway.


2 responses to “Hawthorn Leslie, ‘Asbestos’

  1. Frank Dobson

    My Grandfather Ernest Dobson would have driven ‘Asbestos’ when it was working at the Washington Turner and Newall Works, he worked there from the 1920’s until his retirement when the Diesel engines took over, he still prefered the Steamers but admitted the Diesels were much cleaner. Asbestos was just plain No2 at the Chemical Works or the ‘Chemical’ as it was locally termed and as stated went to Turners Asbestos Cement Wks, Trafford Park. I’m delighted to have found one of these old engines still in preservation, the engines that came after Asbestos, two HL’s built 1918 and two RSHL’s built 1943 were scrapped in 1967 a year after the Diesels appeared, although one of the 1918 built engines also went to Trafford Park in 1933, number 3349 Sylvia. I’m planning to build a replica of the Washington Chemical Works railway so it was good to find your site and the info on Asbestos.

    • Hi Frank, it’s always nice to get feedback and information about my posts – thanks for your interest and best of luck with your project. I hope you will send me some photos in due course, please.
      Regards, John CWS

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