The smallest locomotive to grace KWVR metals
Like ‘Sir Berkeley’, ‘Lord Mayor’ was a contractors locomotive, being abused and unloved throughout its working life across England & Wales.
A working life starting and ending in Leeds
‘Lord Mayor’ is one of the smallest standard gauge locomotives in preservation, of a size more associated with narrow gauge railways but ideal for sites where size was determined by the need for easy haulage by road, on a low loader towed by a steam traction engine.
Built: 1893 Hudswell Clarke
Boiler Pressure: ?? psi
Tractive Effort: 6,165 lbf
Weight 15.5 tons
Valve Gear: Stephenson
Cylinders: 10”x16½” Outside
Numbers carried during working career: Hudswell Clarke 402
Away from the large public and freight carrying railways there were many applications of a steam locomotive. So much so that, as the roads improved in Britain, traction engines became common place especially for use by local councils in maintaining roads and by farmers for helping to plough fields. This could be achieved through their own town-council works departments or by employing a contractor to do the work for them. Before this readily available supply of engines had reached town councils, however, contractors for large civil engineering operations, such as building a harbour wall or indeed helping to forge a new railway through the landscape, tended to buy steam locomotives to help with the building work, carrying away spoil and bringing in building materials.
The locomotives purchased by these contractors varied in track gauges and also in size. Most of them came from industrial engineering firms who specialised in the manufacture of steam locomotives and some of these companies also supplied the major railway firms when requirement outstripped the capacity of their own works. ‘Lord Mayor’ was built during this interesting period by Hudswell Clarke of Leeds for Edmund Nutall, Ship Canal, Salford and enjoyed a typically varied career. It appears to have been used in the construction of the Castle Cary line for the Great Western Railway and also in several housing estate developments around the country.
The engine ended it working days with Messrs. George Cohen of Stanningley, whom used the engine in the dismantling of the Liverpool Overhead Electric Railway. Messrs. George Cohen donated the engine to the Lord Mayor Trust and eventually it arrived on the Worth Valley Railway in 1958.
In 1990 the engine was purchased by the Vintage Carriages Trust and saw some limited use but is currently out of action, destined to stay so, and is a static exhibit at the VCT’s Museum of Rail Travel at Ingrow. ‘Lord Mayor’ has one claim to fame in that it was chosen to be a static exhibit at the Shildon Works of British Rail in the festival held in August 1975 for the 150th Anniversary celebrations of the opening of the Stockton and Darlington Railway. It is also safe to say that, weighing in at just 15.5 Tons, ‘Lord Mayor’ is the smallest engine to be based on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway and represents an important part of the development of Railways.