In my last post a Hudswell Clarke loco was mentioned as possibly being in steam on the next open Day. This was No.431 of 1895, which arrived at Chasewater shortly before ‘Asbestos’. Sadly, this did not happen, and as far as I am aware, this loco still has not steamed at Chasewater Railway, over 40 years later!
‘On Saturday 2nd December, 1967, a long-awaited member of our loco stud arrived – by road – a Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0ST, used until December, 1966, in the Ironstone Quarries at Desborough. This locomotive was steamed by Mr. Civil and Mr. Luker (our expert loco-fitters) before purchase, and ran for some little while before they declared it a good purchase.
It was built by Hudswell Clarke & Co., Leeds in 1895, works number 431 and spent most of its life in the hands of the Sheepbridge Coal & Iron Company in whose fleet she became No.15. It was allocated the name ‘Sheepbridge No.25’, but this was never carried and with the removal of its official number and works plates ran its last years without any identification at all.
It has on two occasions been rebuilt, first in 1928 and secondly in 1944, by the Sheepbridge Company themselves.’
‘The engine was first suggested as a suitable candidate for preservation some two years ago when it was one of several locomotives at work at Desborough Warren Quarry near Kettering. One by one its companions were withdrawn leaving No.15 as the only workable source of motive power. After closure of the quarry it assisted with the lifting of the track, until the early part of 1967 when it too was withdrawn and stored in the engine shed at Desborough in company with an Avonside 0-6-0T.
The RPS then stepped in and after pleasing, successful negotiations with Stewarts and Lloyds Ltd., the locomotive was purchased. The firm kindly allowed us to steam the engine before purchase.’
At the moment, ‘Asbestos ‘ is in the Heritage Centre awaiting a major overhaul, as, indeed, is 431.