Slogging with Stanhope

Way back in December, this blog had an update on the MRT’s flagship locomotive, Kerr Stuart “Tattoo” class no.2395 of 1917 “Stanhope”. At the time, she was in the throes of a ten year boiler exam and light overhaul. Fortunately, the care and expense of her original restoration paid off, and no major problems emerged during the overhaul, and she was back in business by Easter at her current home, the West Lancashire Light Railway at Hesketh Bank near Southport. “Stanhope” has recently embarked on an end-of-summer tour, and this weekend has seen her working at the Golden Valley Light Railway, part of the Midland Railway Centre at Butterley, Derbyshire. And working is the operative word; it’s a 1 in 30 or thereabouts climb from the GVLR’s terminus at Newlands Inn. “Stanhope” does not have an air compressor of her own, so it is necessary to run with an air-equipped loco to provide the air. This is normally a 60S Motor Rail. The passenger train is four substantial manriders, plus the five ton Motor Rail deadweight, so it all makes for a pretty impressive bit of climbing performance as she storms up the bank. It has been observed that this is one of the key attractions of the narrow gauge. On the adjacent MRT standard gauge line, there are locos like a BR Standard 9F; with the usual load of most preserved lines, the loco hardly notices. Not so on the narrow gauge. Believe me, “Stanhope” notices the load climbing from Newlands Inn! Learn more about the GVLR at their website here.

From the GVLR, “Stanhope” will visit the Moseley Railway Trust’s Apedale base for the September 13 & 14 open days. Apedale will ultimately be “Stanhope”s home as and when the first phase of the passenger railway is completed and opened (hopefully during 2009).
After Apedale, it’s on to Graham Lee’s splendid Statfold Barn railway for their enthusiasts weekend, and then “Stanhope” returns to Hesketh Bank to fulfill its commitments on that railway – see here.
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