Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Wee Locos at Threlkeld

I've been to Threlkeld Quarry and Mining Museum a number of times before. It's a wonderful place if you are at all interested in Britain's industrial heritage. 

Last weekend there was something a bit special - a gala featuring four visiting narrow-guage locos in steam, as well as resident Sir Tom. There were two visitors from from Statfold Barn, Diana from the Bala Lake Railway and, above, 'Joffre' class from the Moseley Railway Trust. Built at the Kerr Stuart works, this locomotive served in the trenches in France in WW1, see here.

Alpha is a Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0 from 1924, used at Ryam Sugar Mill in India, and just recently restored to working order at Statfold Barn.

Built by Hudswell Clarke in 1930, No 1643 Bronllwyl is an 0-6-0 well tank. Read about it here.

Diana is a recently restored 0-4-0 side tank locomotive built in 1917 by Kerr Stuart for the Kerry Tramway in Wales. It has come to the gala from the Bala Lake railway, see here.

Paired with Sir Tom, Diana heads up the short length of track to the main quarry.

Sir Tom is Threlkeld's resident locomotive. The loco was made by Bagnall of Stafford in 1926 and named after Sir Tom Callender of British Insulated Callender Cables. The 0-4-0 saddle tank worked at BICC in Kent until 1968. After lying idle for thirty three years, it arrived at Threlkeld in 2001, and has been fully restored since.

Sir Tom has travelled away from home on occasion. Last year I ran into the locomotive at Alston, see here.

Those on duty worked hard all day, ensuring everyone's safety. I can say that a huge amount of effort had been put into making the gala a reality. Full marks to them.

Bronllwyd and the Joffre double headed up into the main quarry.

At the quarry end of the line, various movements provided a sense of what things might have been like 'back in the day'.

There was an opportunity to learn the history of the quarry from Martin, and the uses to which Threlkeld granite has been put over the years. The stone doesn't take a polish, so there have never been curling stones from Threlked!

I shared rides with many interesting visitors, including four legged 'Peat', rescued as a puppy in Ireland.

There were lots of other things to see on the gala day. 'Small, but perfectly formed'!

Threlkeld is home to the Vintage Excavator Trust. The star attraction of the collection is the 1909 Ruston-Proctor full-circle 12 ton steam navvy. And it was in operation on Saturday!

Also in action was this Ruston-Bucyrus 22-RB dragline. The more I learn about these old excavators, the more fascinated I become. The next Vintage Excavator Trust 'working weekend' is September 17-18, 2016, and is in my diary!  

Photos © Skip Cottage

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