Chasewater Railway’s ‘Asbestos’ Hawthorn Leslie 2780 of 1909

While clearing out the last of the first phase of cataloguing in the Chasewater Railway Museum, I came across an old video of Asbestos.  So after a little editing I put it on youtube and added some notes on this post, with the link to the video

Turner’s Asbestos Cement Co. Ltd ‘Asbestos’

Hawthorn Leslie 2780 of 1909

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Asbestos in the old Brownhills West Station

 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 the name.  The company asked for £100 for the loco and was 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.

Back in Harness Railway Forum Summer 1968

‘Asbestos’ Back in Harness

From the ‘Railway Forum’ Summer 1968

Steam open day started at 4.30am on June 29th, 1968 with the lighting of the fire in ‘Asbestos’, the Hawthorn Leslie saddle tank presented to the Railway Preservation Society by Turner and Newall, Trafford Park, Manchester.  Steam was raised slowly at first, but soon, with the blower working at full blast, there were 80 lbs on the clock at 7.00am

‘Asbestos’ then moved off to have the tank filled with water, which was drawn from the lake at Chasewater.  The train consisted of the Midland full brake and the Great Western 16-ton brake van.

At about 1 o’clock passengers began to arrive and trains were operated continuously until 7 o’clock when the fire was dropped, the smokebox cleaned out and the ash pan raked.

Steam was soon raised on the Sunday and by 1 o’clock the visitors had exceeded Saturday’s figures.  During the weekend the locomotive behaved very well, was easy to handle and similar in many ways to the old Great Western locomotives but, of course, much smaller.

For the open day, trains were run with the one engine in steam principle, but for the next open day it is hoped to have a Hudswell Clarke locomotive also in steam and to be able to operate a more elaborate timetable.  The Maryport and Carlisle Railway saloon and the Society’s MS&L brake third coach will also be used on one of the trains.

It is hoped to operate again on Sunday and Monday, September 1st and 2nd.

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