The Moseley Railway Trust is pleased to report that significant progress has been made on the restoration of Hudswell Clarke steam locomotive no. 1238, built in 1916. This locomotive was diverted to Ghana (or Gold Coast as it was then known) from a batch of locomotives ordered to support the First World War effort. The locomotive was repatriated from Ghana in 2008 with the support and assistance of AngloGold Ashanti, for whom the locomotive worked. The locomotive was withdrawn after an accident left it upside down in a river, where it lay for 48 years. Tragically, this accident killed its driver, Kofe Asamoa. The loco was rediscovered in 1996, recovered from the river and displayed at AngloGold Ashanti’s mine complex. Colin Laidler, a UK geologist, was working at the mine at the time, and has told the Trust of how he discovered that the rear coupler, a bar of some 4 feet in length with a hook, was now being used to hold cooking pots over a fire in one of the local villages. Colin re-acquired it in exchange for a bottle of schnapps.
Since the locomotive returned to the UK, it has been placed on display at the Moseley Railway Trust’s Apedale site, and also with the Leighton Buzzard Light Railway before moving to a workshop for restoration. Stripping and examination of the locomotive showed that it was in a very poor condition – unsurprisingly, given its history! However, a small team of Moseley Railway Trust volunteers have worked unstintingly, and the locomotive has now reached the point where it stands on its wheels, with the motion, cylinders etc. complete and in place. The vast majority of the motion has been manufactured from scratch.
Although there was some hope that parts of the boiler could have been re-used, expert examination recommended that a new boiler would be the most cost-effective solution. To that end, the Trust has now placed the order for the new boiler with Israel Newton & Sons Limited.
The project has been funded through a number of sources. These have included a significant legacy in memory of Terry Stanhope, a lifelong enthusiast of narrow gauge railways. Secondly, a PRISM grant was awarded in recognition of the locomotive’s importance to the UK’s industrial heritage. However, there remains a funding gap of £20k which needs to be raised in order to complete the boiler.
Phil Robinson, Moseley Railway Trust Chairman, commented:- We are pleased to have entered the final phase of the restoration of this fascinating locomotive. There is very little work left to be done once the boiler is completed and fitted to the locomotive. We very much want the Hudswell to star at our Tracks to the Trenches event in September 2014, which will commemorate all aspects of WW1 military railways. These Hudswell locomotives were a key part of this story. However, to allow that to happen, we must raise the last £20k, and I would delighted to hear from individuals or organisations who can help us make this final push to complete this project.
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