Diesels in industry
North-West Industrial
This was a day in which we checked out a number of industrial locations, starting near Wrexham and ending up on the famous Chat Moss, between Liverpool and Manchester. We started at GKN's Brymbo steelworks, at the top of the Brymbo branch from Croes Newydd, Wrexham. Here there was a large fleet - 12 locomotives - of the products of the Yorkshire Engine Co, three 0-4-0s and nine 0-6-0s of at least two designs, including the two single-ended locos shown - "Spencer" and "John", and the double-ended "Janus" type "Emrys". Some of the locos had their engines running, but none looked likely to work in the immediate future, so we moved on. Taking the road towards the coast, we now headed for Connah's Quay, firstly to the power station where a fleet of Fowler 0-4-0 diesels was located. Three had been there for some time; the fourth had recently arrived from Skelton Grange power station near Leeds. This latter locomotive, seen above left and right, was JF4210001, presumably the first of the design, dating from 1949. None were in use on this occasion. So, after taking the obligatory snaps, we drove the short distance to CC Crump's wagon repair works. Two locomotives were in residence here - outside was the working loco, another Fowler of the design seen down the road, "M.O.P. No 7", JF4210144 of 1958. Inside the works was a much rarer specimen from the same stable, "Marie", JF22882 of 1939. Sadly, Marie had lost a buffer, and didn't look as though she had been used recently. The area between Ellesmere Port and Helsby is full of railway interest - at least, it was on this occasion. Starting at the former location, we found four Manchester Ship Canal railway locomotives, these being 3002/3/4 and 5, all 0-6-0 Sentinels of the modern-looking design of the Shrewsbury manufacturer (S10145/6/7 and 10162, all built in 1963). About a mile further on, again just beside the road, was 3001 (S10144/63), which looked as though it had been moving some oil tank wagons around. The huge Shell oil refinery at Stanlow, a little further along Oil Sites Road, was host to perhaps a dozen locomotives at the time
Geoff’s Rail Diaries
of our trip. We could see a couple working in the siding beside Stanlow station - the locomotive illustrated is practically brand new, being a Thomas Hill "Vanguard" locomotive of 1980 build (no. 9, TH287V). A BR class 25 passed on a train, oddly enough, of oil tanks. Still heading east, we now made for Runcorn, location of the Castner-Kellner works of ICI, and home to a fleet of Yorkshire Engine Co diesels. The only one we could see was "Eskdale" YE2718 of 1958 - a very similar loco to "Emrys" at Brymbo From Runcorn we crossed the Mersey and headed north. Our remaining visits would be to narrow gauge peat lines. First port of call was the White Moss Peat Co, not very far from Kirkby, Liverpool, and home to a pair of Motor-Rail "Simplex" diesels. Once again, there was nothing going on, although the system looked as though it had been used recently. We moved on. Our final destination was Chat Moss, where there were two peat lines listed. After those fine Yorkshire diesels at Brymbo, this was to be truly "sublime to ridiculous" - read on! Firstly, we tried "Peatco Products" - a quick look around suggested that the site was abandoned. So we moved to the final destination - the oddly-named Croxden Gravel Ltd. "Could we photograph your locos please?" "You'll have to be quick - they're probably coming in from the moss now, on the last trip". They were, too, with quite the most unusual locomotive we'd ever seen. A line of peat wagons was being hauled by what appeared to be a small garden shed (actually Lister Blackstone 51651 of 1960), upon which sat a couple of the peat diggers. Truly the charm of the narrow gauge! Link: Industrial Railway Society
2 September 1981
1, 10 and 2 - JF4210077/52, 4210001/49 and 4210090/54 JF 4210069 of 1952 No 9 TH287V/80 JF 4210001 of 1949 Cl 25 on an eastbound oil train, Stanlow 3001 S10144/63 Sentinels 3004, 3002 and 3005 Emrys YE2867/62 "Eskdale" YE2718/58 Marie JF 22882 of 39 JF 4210144 of 1958 LB51651 of 1960, Croxden Gravel MR8696 of 1941, White Moss Peat Co MR8696 of 1941, White Moss Peat Co MR20058 of 1949, White Moss Peat Co Spencer (2659/57 and John (2658/57)