Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Class 21 0-4-0ST ‘Pug’ Saddle Tank No.51218

The first engine to arrive on the Railway, 51218 waits its turn in the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Trust’s restoration queue.

Designed by J. A. F. Aspinall and built at Horwich, 57 of this class of engine were produced between l891 and 1910. The loco was specifically designed for shunting tightly curved sidings on the L&YR’s dock lines and goods yards.

As L&Y no. 68, the engine appeared from Horwich in 1901, was given the number 11218 at the grouping and gave 63 years service before being withdrawn in Neath, South Wales in 1964. Two of these engines survive, both owned by the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Trust. In addition to 51218, no. 19 is on long term loan to Ribble Steam Railway at Preston Docks.

51218 has the distinction of being the first locomotive to arrive at Haworth in January 1965. It was soon restored to working order and became a favourite with early visitors to the Railway. Despite this popularity, the engine spent two and half years away from Haworth to haul enthusiast specials around Rochdale and Manchester and then, for two periods, to work for Messrs. Brown & Polson whilst their own locomotives were away for overhaul.

More notoriety came when the engine was one of those chosen to appear in the 1975 Shildon Cavalcade to celebrate 150 years of the passenger railway in Britain. On this grand occasion, this once lowly rated shunter rubbed shoulders with more glamorous engines like Flying Scotsman.

The mid-1990s saw the first major overhaul since 1963, taking place at Haworth and the East Lancashire Railway, with a return to steam in late 1997 as 51218 complete with a replacement saddletank. The boiler tubes lasted well beyond the expected 5 years and were eventually condemned in early 2006, and now 51218 will not run again until the boiler has had a 10 year overhaul which will commence once 752 is complete.