Howard’s Way

The current locomotive engineering policy at Apedale is that only locos whose builder’s name begins with the letter H will be restored. So, having finished the Hudswell Clarke, attention has now switched to the Howard. This loco is unique, as it is the only UK narrow-gauge Howard loco; there are two standard gauge ones, at the Bluebell and at the Ribble Steam Railway. We believe that there may be other narrow gauge ones in the Antipodes, but it’s a long way to go and check. The Apedale loco is Howard 984 of 1931 – their “Class S”. This loco worked at Whittlesea Central Brick Co. Ltd., Cambridgeshire. It was bought for preservation in 1970, and was stored at the Cadeby Light Railway from 10 April 1971 until moved to the Brockham museum in Surrey in December 1973. It was subsequently at the Gloddfa Ganol site at Blaneau Ffestiniog before moving to Hampshire. It was sold in 2007 to a Moseley Railway Trust member. After a spell in Somerset, it arrived at Apedale on 21 March 2010. As you will see from the photos, previous progress on restoration has been somewhat limited – although it does sport rather a fine set of cab body panels. We have a suitable engine, and the owner claims to have most of the parts for the loco. The word “most” in this context is always slightly worrying, but time will tell. Without another one to look at, there are some real puzzles – such as exactly how the transmission works. The lid has been taken off the transmission, and it’s not that bad inside, all things considered. The axleboxes incorporate a rather peculiar eccentric device to allow chain tensioning. So, this looks like being a challenging restoration to say the least, but, to paraphrase Monty Python’s Black Knight “We’ve seen worse”. As ever, get in touch here.