© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2011
There was still a fair amount of
industrial steam around towards the
end of the 1970s. Here are some
pictures from a trip to two fairly
local pits where steam could be seen
in action in 1979.
Bersham colliery, near Wrexham, had two steam
locomotives, the best known being "Hornet", a
cut-down Peckett - no. 1935 of 1937. Hornet was in steam, but
would be unlikely to be doing any real work for some time - so
the driver did a quick run up and down the yard for us - most
obliging! Also present, undergoing repair, was the much older
"Shakespeare" (no, not that old!) - Hawthorn Leslie 3074 of 1914.
Diesels arrived (from the closed Granville colliery in Shropshire)
less than 6 months later, and Hornet was out of use by March
1980. Whether Shakespeare ever worked again, I don't know - he
was scrapped within a year or so. Hornet lives on at the Ribble
Steam Railway at Preston.
We moved on to Bold colliery, near Burtonwood (of brewery
fame) in Lancashire. The working locomotive here was Austerity
"Robert" - Hudswell Clarke 1752 of 1943, none other than our
friend No 7 from Littleton Colliery. Robert was returning to the
shed for lunch when we arrived, so (I seem to recall) we
departed for lunch, at the nearby
hostelry (a Burtonwood house, oddly
We returned refreshed to see some real
action. The line up to the exchange
sidings from the weighbridge was, for
some reason, built to an amazing gradient - 1 in
14 or thereabouts. Consequently, full wagons
were taken up in short rakes, with the loco
working flat out up the bank - wonderful stuff!
Also present, at the shed, were two other Austerities, "Alison"
HE3163/44 rebuilt HE3885/64, and "Whiston" HE3694/50, and a
North British diesel hydraulic, 0-4-0 no. 27735 of 1958, which I
suspect was of little use! Whiston lives on, at Foxfield, and
Alison (who became "Joseph" a little while after our visit) is at
the South Devon Railway. Robert is at "The Railway Age" at
Crewe; the diesel is no longer with us....
Industrial Railway Society