Life and Times – No.71, Clayton 5843

Carrying on the Woodhead theme, we present fleet no.71 – Clayton 5843 of 1971. No. 71 was new to the National Grid Woodhead Tunnel, doubtless purchased in the wake of the Hudson debacle described last week. The main line railway tunnel at Woodhead, in the Pennines between Manchester and Sheffield, was one of the longest in the country at over 3 miles. When the original tunnel was replaced by a new railway tunnel alongside in 1954, the older tunnel was taken over by the Central Electricity Generating Board. It was used to lay National Grid high voltage cables to avoid the need to use pylons in this very rugged part of the country. A narrow gauge railway was laid in the old tunnel to facilitate maintenance, and Clayton supplied this locomotive with extra large wheels to allow high speed running in view of the distances involved. It became part of the Trust fleet in June 2000. It has visited a number of other narrow gauge railways; 2003 saw the loco visit Cadeby, and Leicester Museum of Technology’s line at Abbey Pumping Station. It remains a popular loco, as it’s reasonable quick, and plenty of “pull” for shunting.

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