Manchester Ship Canal / Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0T Side Tank No. 31 ‘Hamburg’

A useful engine in the early years of the Railway, 31 ‘Hamburg’ is now confined to Oxenhope Exhibition shed.

The Manchester Ship Canal Railway was the largest privately-owned railway in Britain, with over 200 track miles and even in 1959 had no fewer than 70 steam locomotives. Most of the engines were one of two versions of the standard industrial tank type built by Hudswell, Clarke & Co. Ltd., of Leeds.

No. 31 is a version with short side tanks built in 1903 and arrived on the Worth Valley in June 1967. It was fitted with vacuum brake equipment to allow it to work passenger services along with steam heating equipment to allow for winter duties. Due to the gradients on the Worth Valley line, however, the engine was usually limited to 2 or 3 coaches and was therefore of limited use.

As KWVR traffic increased, passenger work suitable for this locomotive became scarce and apart featuring in the television series “The Railway Children”, forerunner to the well known EMI film of the same name, and Sherlock Holmes, the locomotive has seen little use and now resides out of use at Oxenhope.