Pulling power of a large mainline locomotive
Built in 1938, 1704 served the Hope, Derbyshire quarries of G. T. Earle Ltd. For 26 years before retirement and eventual preservation by Bahamas Locomotive Society.
‘Nunlow’ cements its place in preservation at Ingrow
‘Nunlow’ may be much smaller than our mainline locomotives but that does not mean it is any less powerful than some or our regular passenger locomotives such as 41241, 78022 and 85. Despite its pulling power, however, it is not a suitable engine for regular passenger use.
Built: 1938 Leeds
Boiler Pressure: 180 psi
Tractive Effort: 20,800 lbf
Weight: 45½ tons
Valve Gear: Stephenson
Cylinders: 17”x24” Outside
Number/name carried during working career: 1704 Nunlow
No. 1704 ‘Nunlow’ was built in 1938 by Hudswell Clarke & Co. Ltd, of Leeds to an order from G & T Earle Cement Manufacturers in Derbyshire. The loco was intended for work over their two mile branch line from the exchange siding with the LMS into their works at Hope in Derbyshire.
No. 1704 was named ‘Nunlow’ and named after Nun Low, the hill that was excavated to become Pindale Quarry. Hudswell Clarke supplied the engine as one of their standard 0-6-0 side tank locomotives with 3ft 9in diameter driving wheels and a tractive effort of 20,800 lbs (this being not far short of the equivalent to a British Railways Class 4 locomotive). Because of this high power rating, ‘Nunlow’ was used regularly on 500 ton trains over their two mile line.
In 1955 a new steel firebox was fitted and, as an indication of how much work this engine performed, a further new firebox, copper this time, was required in 1960 during a major boiler overhaul. ‘Nunlow’ continued working until 1964 when it was put into store after being replaced by diesels.
In 1968, Earle’s, now part of Associated Portland Cement, put the locomotive up for sale and it was purchased by the Bahamas Locomotive Society (BLS) in January 1969 for £500. It arrived at Dinting Railway Centre in steam on 1st April, just in time for the Society’s first Easter Steam Weekend. No. 1704 was put into service, giving footplate rides every Sunday throughout that season. During the winter, it received some mechanical attention and was repainted in a livery typical of the Great Central Railway.
In 1990, 1704 locomotive moved to the Swanage Railway on a temporary operational visit, which included fitting the engine with vacuum brakes, prior to it moving permanently to the Worth Valley Railway later that year. Following completion of the BLS museum at Ingrow in May 2003, it became one of the major exhibits.
‘Nunlow’ became the subject of an overhaul and returned to steam in 2008, taking part in the KWVR’s 40th Anniversary in June of that year. For the next 10 years, ‘Nunlow’ made cameo appearances on the KWVR, before being withdrawn in April 2018 on expiry of its boiler certificate. It has now returned to its place in the ‘Loco Shed’ museum at Ingrow