© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2014
The Leeds builders named this class of locomotive
“Ganges”. Not in India, but in Ghana, Africa, no.
1238 fell into a river during a storm in 1948. Sadly,
its driver was killed, but that was not the end for
the locomotive. Abandoned
and upside-down, it was
rediscovered some 48 years later,
rescued and placed on static display.
It remained there for several more years,
until, having been donated to the Moseley
Railway Trust, it was repatriated in
2008. After a short period of display
at Apedale, the rebuild began. While some new
components would obviously be required, in particular the
boiler. motion and most of the non-ferrous parts, as much
as possible would remain of the original.
Today’s celebrations at Statfold marked the end of that
process, with a formal return to steam for members of the
Trust. After short and apt speeches by chairman Phil
Robinson and leader of the rebuild team Martyn Ashworth, HC
1238 of 1916 was launched back into active service.
It won’t be at Statfold for long - 1238 is due back at
Apedale for the “Tracks to the Trenches” event next
month - but it’s without doubt a great place for a
thorough run-in, with the opportunity for a good gallop
around Statfold’s well-laid main
line. Similar sister Hudswell
GP39 (the loco formerly known as
Bronllwyd, HC 1643 of 1930) would
accompany it (and, I’m guessing now,
provide a means of operating the train’s
brakes) - and gallop it did. If the first
moves seemed just a touch tentative, the
little black locomotive was running
well by the end of the afternoon...
...but we can’t keep calling it “1238”, can we? It needs a
name. How about “Kofe”, as a memorial to the
unfortunate driver who truly met his end in 1948 - and, by
a curious chain of events, ensured that the locomotive
survived? It’s almost certain that, had it not fallen into the
river, it would have been scrapped many years ago.
Moseley Railway Trust