The Hunslet-built steam engine ‘Sir Berkeley’ was back in service after a re-dedication ceremony at Middleton Railway yesterday (15 April 2023).
The engine, built in 1891 by Manning Wardle, is owned by the Vintage Carriages Trust and operated by Middleton Railway.
Ian Smith, Vice President of the Middleton Railway Trust explained:
“Over the past few years it’s had a lot of work done to it. We got a lottery grant a few years ago which paid for a brand new boiler. One of the conditions was that we section the original boiler which you can see on display in the Engine House.”
Trevor England, Chair of the Vintage Carriages Trust, praised the partnership working and thanked Roger Crombleholme who bought and preserved the engine 60 years ago.
“If it wasn’t for Roger we wouldn’t be here today, it’s as simple as that” he said.
Anthony Coulls, Senior Curator at the National Railway Museum in York, spoke about the importance of little steam engines like Sir Berkeley. It had been a contractors’ engine most of its working life – the equivalent of a dump truck in modern day construction.
“The contractors’ railways ran across the UK from dams, reservoirs, civil engineering, bridge building, canals and the railway system. There were hundreds of miles of railway doing a job of work away from the (mainline) Flying Scotsman and Mallard. Engines like this were getting on, doing the business, driving British industry.
“They were pieces of plant, often discarded at the end of their jobs, it’s amazing that Sir Berkeley or ‘Logan & Hemmingway No 30’ as it was, when ordered in 1890, survived until Roger came and bought it in 1965.”
Sir Berkeley’s restoration has been completed with a beautiful paint job, restoring it to the livery of Logan & Hemmingway, civil engineering contactors.
Photo (L-R): Anthony Coulls, National Railway Museum; Roger Crombleholme; Ian Smith, Middleton Railway Trust; and Trevor England, Vintage Carriages Trust
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