Stanhope’s Triumphant Return

Official Press Release from the Moseley Railway Trust

Ex Penrhyn scrap-line ‘Tattoo’ class 0-4-2 loco ‘Stanhope’, Kerr-Stuart 2395 of 1917, returned to steam at Alan Keef Ltd’s open day on Saturday 11th September. After a mammoth rebuild lasting over five years, initially carried out by FMB Engineering in Hampshire and completed during the last year by Alan Keef Ltd, Stanhope was steamed during the previous week for tests and boiler certification for the first time in over 50 years. Stanhope was "the one which almost got away" being remembered chiefly as a forlorn relic in the scrap line at Coed-y-Parc. There for almost twenty years, the loco was gradually cannibalised for parts before the frames were ignominiously cut in half during the 70’s. The boiler found its way to Bressingham on ‘Bronllwydd’, and the cylinders and motion to the Talyllyn from the Penrhyn Quarries for their Tattoo class, ‘Edward Thomas’ as possible spares.

Purchased in February 1994 by John Rowlands of the Moseley Railway Trust, original parts were located and acquired where possible, and new parts manufactured to replace those which could not be traced. Fortunately, all of the important drawings had survived, and copies were obtained from Armley Mills Museum in Leeds. During reconstruction, quite a number of suitable original Kerr-Stuart parts were located, and these were used wherever possible. The original cylinders and some of the motion were acquired from the Talyllyn for Stanhope, although some of the parts obtained bore the works number of their Tattoo. A new riveted boiler was fabricated by Bicknells of Liphook, and a traditionally riveted new saddle tank by Roger Lees of Whaley Bridge. Initial assembly including re-wheeling, manufacture of the missing valve gear components and construction of the bodywork was carried out by FMB Engineering and Prototype Developments. Earlier this year, Patrick Keef of Alan Keef Ltd undertook to complete the loco and make it all work. By 10th September, Stanhope had been steamed twice, first to check that the boiler worked satisfactorily and that there were no problems, and secondly to check the set-up of the valve gear. The final boiler certification took place on the Friday, and John and other members of the MRT spent time cleaning and polishing the loco and familiarising themselves with her operation.

The earlier tests had shown that there would still be some further setting-up of the springing and weight distribution, so for the open day, ‘Stanhope’ was confined to the straight section of line through the yard. Paired-up with the MRT rebuild of Penrhyn coach ‘H’, completed on 5th September after only eight weeks work, ‘Stanhope’ was undoubtedly the ‘star’ of the show. Having been in steam the previous day, steam was raised in around an hour, and ‘Stanhope’s’ boiler has shown itself to be a very free steamer. With all the motion finished in bright steel, red underframes and black bodywork ‘Stanhope showed off at intervals during the day, taking turns with Keef’s own De Winton 0-4-0 ‘Taffy’ and 0-4-0ST Bagnall ‘Woto’, and Graham Morris’s 0-4-0ST Kerr-Stuart ‘Peter Pan’. Also on display was Kerr-Stuart ‘Diana’, a ‘Sirdar’ class, which is also undergoing restoration and rebuilding at Alan Keef Ltd.

Remaining work to be carried out on ‘Stanhope’ at Keef’s includes completion of the painting and lining-out, fitting of a mechanical lubrication system and steam brake and the adjustments to the springing mentioned earlier. Once this work is completed, ‘Stanhope’ will spend some time on the West Lancs Light Railway at Hesketh Bank (midway between Southport and Preston), pending the relocation of the MRT from storage in Whaley Bridge to their new site. ‘Stanhope’ is due to be in service at Hesketh Bank in time for Santa Specials (12th, 18th and 19th December).

For more information, please contact MRT c/o Mel Roberts, 11 Ashwood Drive, Disley, Stockport, SK12 2EL