Tag Archives: Kent Construction Ltd

Early RPS Diesel Locos

With the present new and late model diesel locomotive activity at Chasewater Railway, it seems a good time to go back to the Railway’s early engines.

This article is from the ‘Mercian’ of April 1969

By S. Allsopp

The locos described were three of the first diesel engines at Chasewater.

Railway Preservation Society                Diesel Locomotives

The 0-4-0 ‘Planet’ Type Numbers 1, 20 & 21

Number One was manufactured by F.C.Hibberd & Co.Ltd. in 1944, works number 2914, and was supplied new to Weston-Super-Mare Gas Works.  Until 1966, when it was acquired by the Society, it was owned by a succession of firms, finally coming into the hands of Messrs. Pitsteel Ltd. of Aldridge, Staffs.

This locomotive, weighing only six tons, is a very diminutive machine.  The four driving wheels are only 1’ 8” in diameter, and the top of the roof comes well below the height of a normal railway coach.  It is powered by a National 3DL diesel engine of 29 BHP.  The transmission system consists of an 18½ inch diameter cone-type clutch, operated by a foot pedal, driving to a two speed gear-box of the ‘crash’ variety and thence by way of a single roller, chains to both axles.  The gear-box is of the reversing type also.

No electrical system is fitted, engine starting being accomplished by hand.  A handbrake acting on four cast iron brake blocks, one to each wheel, is fitted.

This was the first locomotive to arrive at Chasewater and was of great assistance in the removal and relaying of track, though since the arrival of numbers 20 and 21 it has gone into semi-retirement.  Although only 29 BHP it has shown itself capable of moving, on several occasions, six times and more, its own weight.

A new gear-box has recently been fitted as the original box had the distressing tendency of shedding teeth from one of the first gear pinions, the last time with disastrous results.  There has only been one complete failure with this locomotive, this being caused by a blocked fuel pipe.  Another loco had to be used to haul No.1 back, British Railways fashion.

Number 20 was manufactured by the Kent Construction Company at Ashford in 1926 fro Worthington & Company Ltd., Brewers, of Burton-upon-Trent as their No.10.  This locomotive is reputed to be the only surviving standard gauge locomotive built by the Kent Construction Company.

Number 21 was manufactured by F.C.Hibberd & Co. Ltd. in 1929 for the same brewers as their No.11.  Both of these locomotives are very similar in outward appearance but differ greatly in minor details as we have found out to our cost.

They were both built with Dorman 4J0 petrol engines of 40 brake horse-power, being re-engined with Dorman 4DWD diesel engines of 54 brake horse-power during the 1950s.  They are fitted with a simple electrical system including a twelve volt starter motor, a great improvement on No.1, the clutches and gear boxes being inter-changeable between all three locomotives.  A handbrake only is fitted operating four brake blocks, one to each wheel, through a compensating arrangement.  Standard buffering and draw gear are fitted using three link couplings, although ‘instanter’ and screw couplings are used at times.

Nos. 20 and 21 with the Maryport & Carlisle Railway Coach on the causeway – Photo D.Bathurst collection.

Both locomotives gained their present numbers when the firms of Worthington Ltd. and Bass, Ratcliffe & Gretton Ltd. were merged.  They were purchased by the Society in 1967 after the closure of the Bass railway system at Burton-upon-Trent.  The remaining four Planet diesels belonging to the Company were purchased by Messrs. Albert looms Ltd., the railway rolling stock dismantling engineers of Spondon, near Derby.  The four engines and gear boxes and many other spares from these four were donated to the Society by Messrs. Looms, therefore ensuring a long active life for numbers 20 and 21.

General dimensions of these two are:  length 13’ 6”, width 7’ 6”, height 9’ 9”, wheelbase 5’ 6”, wheel diameter 3’ 1”, weight 8 tons 5cwt approximately, fuel capacity 20 gallons, maximum speed 15 mph approx.


No.1 – This locomotive has been painted all colours of the rainbow, and others as well, it would appear, since it was new.  When acquired by the Society it bore the remains of a yellow livery with the previous ones showing through.  It was then painted green, but is now in maroon with straw lining and yellow buffer beams, looking very respectable for the first time in years.  This locomotive was sold by the Society and is still believed to be working.

Nos. 20 and 21 – Both locomotives were painted Worthington black with red and gold lining when new, but both have acquired the standard Bass blue livery with red lining.  There is the possibility that one or both may revert to the original livery, but this would mean renumbering them.  No. 20 is at the Coors Museum of Brewing at Burton-upon-Trent on a long term loan, and No.21 is in the Heritage Centre at Chasewater.

No.21 at Chasewater