One of the more prolific, and long-lasting, of the British private locomotive builders was Hudswell Clarke & Co Ltd. From their Railway Foundry works in Jack Lane, Leeds, they turned out 1,851 steam locos. Moreover, they recognised the trend towards dieselisation early one, and did pioneering work in this field – but the inevitable came and the works closed in 1972. A good proportion of the output were narrow gauge and the Moseley Railway Trust is fortunate to have representatives of both diesel and steam narrow gauge Hudswells in its collection. The diesel representative is loco D558 of 1938. This loco worked at Beswick’s lime works near Buxton; it was built with a McClaren engine, but now has a Dorman 4LB fitted. It has been recently returned to active service, albeit in need of a cosmetic make-over. The photo shows it hauling the MRT’s restored WW1 tank wagon during the September 2009 open weekend. D558 is of considerable historic interest, as it was the first Hudswell diesel for the UK market. Hudswell didn’t build many small diesels of the type which predominate in the MRT collection – after WW2, it focused on locos for the coal mining industry, and output included some monsters, such as a 300hp triple-unit.
The MRT’s steam Hudswell is 1238 of 1916 (photo courtesy Leighton Buzzard Light Railway). This was exported to Ghana, from where the MRT repatriated it in 2008. This loco is currently on loan to the Leighton Buzzard Light Railway, where it is seen smartly turned-out by LBLR staff. We hope to be able to release some exciting news about this loco’s future in the next few months – watch this space for information. Suffice to say that if you haven’t seen this loco, a trip to Leighton Buzzard may be a good idea! As ever, contact us here.