From Ohio to Keighley via Poland

Purchased by the KWVR from Polish State Railways in 1977, 5820 was a welcome addition to the fleet at a time when trains on the branch were getting heavier and more powerful locomotives were needed.

History of 5820 – Lima Locomotive Works to KWVR

No. 5820 was built in 1945 by Lima of Ohio for the U.S. Army war effort in Europe, being shipped directly to Poland. After service on Poland State Railways and re-numbered TR203-474, the locomotive reached Haworth and entered service the year after arriving.

Data File

Built: 1945 Ohio, U.S.A
Boiler Pressure: 225 psi
Tractive Effort: 31,500 lbf
Weight: 73 tons engine; 51 tons tender
Valve Gear: Walschaerts
Cylinders: 19″ x 26″ Outside
Numbers carried during working career: USATC 5820, Polish State Railways 203-474

History of the S160 Class

With America’s entry to World War II, the United States of America Transportation Corp. needed an existing design from which to create a locomotive of sufficient power to use on the disrupted railways of Europe to haul military hardware and goods as the army progressed across the continent. From this brief came the S160.

Built in America and shipped to the UK and mainland Europe, the S160 design-principles were for quick manufacture, minimal maintenance requirements and for a short life span. Many of the technical features on this class of locomotive were to have a long lasting effect on the future designs of British steam engines. Equipment like rocking grates, hopper ash-pans and the use of grease lubrication for the motion became widespread on British locos after the war.

From the USA to Poland

As works no. 8758, no. 5820 was built by Lima of Ohio in 1945 for the US Army. It was then shipped direct from the United States to Poland for use in the liberation of Poland. The engine was taken into Polish State Railways stock and re-numbered TR203-474. In 1975 it received a replacement boiler from an Alco-built example of the same class. The boiler still carries the builder’s plate today.

The engine remained in Poland, mostly at the steam shed of Katowice in Silesia, until withdrawal for preservation with the Polish Railway Museum in Warsaw. An approach by a member of the Diplomatic Corps in the late 1970s led to the engine being made available for purchase and use on the Worth Valley.

From Poland to Haworth

After much negotiation and perseverance (including a failed transportation attempt to the UK) the engine finally arrived at Haworth in November 1977. This was no mean feat bearing in mind that Poland was, at the time, still behind the “Iron Curtain” of communism. As TR203-474 and still carrying the Polish livery, the locomotive entered service on the Worth Valley in the following year.

Several hundred of this class operated in the UK during the D-Day preparations in 1943 and 1944, including working through Keighley Station. When no. 5820 was chosen to appear in the feature film “Yanks”, filmed on location in Keighley, it was, therefore, an appropriate choice and with a filming assignment imminent was re-liveried to USATC grey as USATC no. 5820.

Following withdrawal at the expiration of its boiler certificate, the engine was put aside until a lengthy restoration was undertaken, the engine returning to service in February 2014, temporarily painted in British Railways unlined black, fictitiously numbered 95820. Although this fictious livery received much acclaim amongst enthusiasts, 5820 regained its number and authentic USATC grey livery for the 2014 Easter holiday.

Today 5820 is a reliable performer, handling the heaviest trains on the branch with ease and is regularly seen working trains between Keighley & Oxenhope.