© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2011
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
Emrys YE2867/62branch from Croes Newydd, Wrexham. Here
there was a large fleet - 12 locomotives - of the products of the
Yorkshire Engine Co, 3 0-4-0s and 9 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
move 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 C C Crump's wagon repair works. Two locomotives
were in JF4210044/58residence 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
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
The huge Shell oil refinery at Stanlow, a little further along Oil
Sites Road, was host to perhaps a dozen locomotives at the time
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!
Industrial Railway Society