Sir W G Armstrong, Whitworth & Co (Engineers) Ltd are well known as builders of main line steam locomotives between the wars. They were also one of the pioneers of world diesel traction, until the works was turned over to armaments production and the diesel traction department at Scotswood Works, Newcastle upon Tyne, was closed down in 1937.
In 1933 they built a batch of six 0-4-0DE locos for stock and use as demonstrators. They had 85hp Saurer 6BLD engines, with 3ft 0in diameter driving wheels and weighed 15 Tons. These locomotives carried out demonstrations all over the country and in the North East, one was sold to the North Sunderland Railway in Northumberland, one to A Reyrolle & Co Ltd and one to Dunston Power Station. The latter loco is in the National Railway Museum collection and is currently on loan to nearby Beamish Museum.
The Tanfield loco is No.2, works number D22 and was demonstrated at Dorman Long & Co Ltd, Britannia Works Middlesbrough and Warner & Co, Cargo Fleet, Middlesbrough.
She was bought in 1937 by A Reyrolle & Co Ltd, Hebburn. Co Durham, where she shared duties with a Dick Kerr 4wBE loco. One shunted each of the two works at Hebburn and New Town and they had running powers over the LNER/BR line between the works. No.2 was registered with the Railway Executive, 1549 of 1953, to use BR tracks. She was fitted with a 100 hp Gardner 6LW engine whilst here.
After rail traffic ceased in 1970, she was sold to WF & JR Shepherd Ltd, scrap merchants, Byker, Newcastle upon Tyne. Initially, she was used to shunt the yard, but was laid aside and partially buried in scrap.
In July 1978, No.2 was rescued and moved to Marley Hill. Here she had her damaged bodywork and electrical gear repaired and was repainted in black livery. She continues in regular use at Marley Hill and having been vacuum fitted, can also haul passenger trains. Currently, No.2 sees weekly use as the Causey Pilot Locomotive, whilst trackwork between Causey Arch and East Tanfield is ongoing.
Photo: A Reyrolles No.2 hauling a passenger train into Andrews House Station, by T.Knox
26 December 2017