Taken from the Mercian Vol.1 No.3 an article by Gerald Wildish about our Neilson Locomotive.Shown here carrying the ‘Alfred Paget’ Nameplate
Neilson & Son Ltd., No.2937 of 1882
Bairds & Scottish Steel Ltd.’s No.11
Delving back through the records of Bairds & Scottish Steel Ltd., one comes across several interesting details about the locomotive which we hope will be at Chasewater before the summer is out. Some of this information which has come into my hands is included in this article.
No.11 was the fifth locomotive built by Neilson’s for Bairds, two of which were six-coupled. She was the second 14-inch four-coupled built for Bairds. (The first, No.13 – built in 1876 passed to the NCB in 1948 and will eventually find a home at Falkirk). Supplied new to Bairds in 1882, she cost £1,275. Engines built to this design cost Bairds between £925 and £1,300, the cheapest being the last, the second, No.3 delivered in 1889.
My own personal records of No.11 go back no further than 1889, but in May 1900 a new firebox and tubes were fitted. The next major repairs were in 1911 when a further new firebox and tubes were fitted. A minor overhaul took place when a new right-hand coal bunker was supplied and the tank replaced.
After 1916 the records became scant until 1934 when greater detail is once again recorded. In January 1936 another semi-major overhaul took place: new plates were provided for the boiler and a new brake assembly was fitted. A year later the firebox was patched and all mountings ‘done-up’. In July 1938 she was stopped again for general repairs and in November was fitted with a new firebox, repairs continuing until March, 1939.
In 1941, 4 new tyres were fitted, new brasses being added at the same time during a heavy general repair. She returned to the works in June 1943 when the boiler and firebox were condemned, but was back at work with new boiler and firebox, a patched tank and new brake cylinder block and shaft in less than six weeks. It shows what work can be carried out quickly during war time. (Due to the pressure of keeping engines at work, No.1 – the ex GERJ 15 class was sent to Cowlairs for overhaul.) A further new firebox was fitted in August, 1945 during another heavy overhaul.
New tyres were fitted in the general overhaul of 1947, but the next interesting occurrence came in the heavy overhaul of 1949, after fitting new tubes, a further new firebox was fitted and the boiler removed for hydraulic testing. However, when being removed for testing, the rope broke damaging the boiler, which had then to be lifted into the shed and rebuilt on the frames for testing again. Eventually the boiler was hydraulically tested to 200 lbs. and steam to 135lbs.
Fireboxes seemed to wear out very quickly on the Neilsons for the 1950 firebox fractured in 1954 and was presumably replaced although the records do not state this. General repairs followed in 1958 and 1963, when the boiler was announced to be satisfactory and in June 1967, just before the works closed.
When the works closed in July, apart from being the second oldest working locomotive in the British Isles, No.11 was the last to be repaired at the Gartsherrie Works. She is in excellent mechanical order and when inspected by the engineers in February of this year (1968), it was pronounced that she would be the best of the RPS stock in this direction. She lacks paint – I have no record of her being painted after 1950 – and remains in the post-war black. She was never repainted dark blue as were many of her contemporaries at Gartsherrie. We hope, funds permitting, to move her to Chasewater at the end of May or early June. We have enough money to complete the purchase but we are still short of removal funds by several pounds.
Summary of dimensions:
Weight: 28 tons, Boiler Pressure: 120lbs. per sq.in.
Overall Length: 23ft 7ins. Tractive Effort: 8885lbs. Height: 10ft 10ins.Line drawing of the Neilson also by Gerald Wildish