1888-built Hunslet returns to Yorkshire after 83 years for quick return to action.
Veteran Hunslet 0-6-0ST Hastings has moved back to its former home county of Yorkshire, and is set for a speedy return to steam at the Elsecar Heritage Railway. The frames, cab, tank and most other parts of the 1888 machine moved to the EHR from its previous home at Mangapps Railway Museum on March 7. The boiler is part-way through major repairs, including a new inner firebox, at the North Norfolk Railway. Constructed in Leeds as Hunslet Works No. 469, Hastings spent its early years as a contractor’s locomotive, engaged in projects on the Manchester Ship Canal and railway construction in the South East, where it picked up the name Hastings. After a spell on a contract at Immingham docks, it was acquired by the Park Gate Iron and Steel Co. in Rotherham in 1915. It spent 20 years at the Parkgate complex, just a few miles from Elsecar, before being dispatched to the same firm’s Sproxton ironstone quarry in Leicestershire in 1935. At Sproxton Hastings was the primary source of motive power until the early 1940s when Manning Wardle 0-6-0ST Charwelton arrived and, after overhaul, took on the bulk of the work. Hastings was retained as a spare and moved further down the pecking order when a third locomotive arrived in 1957. In 1963 rail traffic ceased at Sproxton, and the Kent & East Sussex Railway purchased Hastings and Charwelton for £250 and £280 respectively. Both arrived at Tenterden on January 2 1964. Although Charwelton has been a regular performer in Kent ever since, Hastings has steamed only once, in April 1965, and lay dismantled for many years before heading to Mangapps in the early 21st century for restoration. Hastings will have a familiar stablemate at Elsecar in the shape of Sentinel 0-4-0VBT Gervase, which was also an early arrival at the KESR and is currently in regular use at the Yorkshire coalfield line.
Hastings is craned from the lorry at Elesecar on March 7.