Kerr Stuart 2395 “Stanhope” is, some would say, the flagship of the Moseley Railway Trust’s loco fleet. Built in 1917 to the makers Tattoo class design, the loco worked at Penrhyn quarries until withdrawal. Stanhope entered preservation in 1966, but was not fully restored until her first steaming in preservation during 1999.
This, of course, seems like just yesterday to many of us – but the loco’s tubes, of course, do not work on fallible human memory. And, in the words of Chief Engineer Scott “You canna change the laws of Physics”.
Stanhope is normally based at the West Lancs Light Railway, at Hesketh Bank, near Southport. However, she has visited many other railways. Notable excursions have include the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland railways, and also places such as Amerton and Statfold.
However, it was her recent outing to the South Tynedale Railway at Alston which was to be her undoing. The high pennine fells, and the famous climbs to Shap and Beattock tested many a standard gauge loco; the STR was no less a stern test for Stanhope. Unfortunately, during the STR visit, the tubes began to leak fairly seriously. The inevitable could not be postponed.
Shortly after return to base at Hesketh Bank, the boiler was removed from the locomotive and dispatched to a local boilersmith, Johnson’s, based at Banks (also near Southport). Whilst being re-tubed, the boiler has also received all the necessary work for a further ten years service. The work done has been to retube the boiler, manufacture and fit a new smokebox. The new smokebox is of rather heavier gauge material than the standard design, although the Kerr Stuart drawings show that some original customers also favoured this option on their Tattoos.
The boiler was hydraulically tested this week – this is in progress in the photo, and the boiler inspector pronounced himself happy. There was a moment of panic at the amount of red ink being put into his notes – until it was revealed that Mr Inspector had only brought a red pen with him!
Stanhope will now be reassembled at Hesketh Bank, where the loco will continue to be based until the MRT’s site at Apedale is ready to accommodate this loco. We hope that this will be during 2008, when the MRT is planning to open Phase One of the railway at Apedale.
The West Lancs website is at http://www.westlancsrailway.org/.
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