IRWELL an 0-4-0ST with 11 x 16″ outside cylinders, 2ft 9 1/2″ diameter wheels and a weight of 13.5 tons. She was ex works on 12th April 1937 with the works number 1672 and is to a design normally built for contractors. As No.3 CORONATION, she was new to the Manchester Corporation Electricity Department at their Stuart Street Power Station in Manchester. The power station became part of the British Electricity Authority in April 1948, Central Electricity Authority in April 1955 and the Central Electricity Generating Board in April 1958. In June 1973 she was sent to the CEGB′s Willow Holme Power Station in Carlisle as spare loco to two large 0-6-0 Fireless Andrew Barclay locos.
She moved to the Tanfield Railway in January 1977, where she recieved the name IRWELL. She saw regular use on the railway for a number of years, and was particularly well suited to the early Marley Hill - Sunniside operation, being of ideal size for the workload. It could, however, be argued that IRWELL is deceptively small; on 26th May 1991, she hauled seven carriages from Causey Arch up the steep incline to Andrews House, coming within less than 100m from the platform before requiring assistance at the rear from WELLINGTON, an impressive achievement for such a diminutive locomotive.
Following her withdrawal from regular service, IRWELL was dismantled and stored in large pieces around Marley Hill. She currently remains in this dismantled state, awaiting a full overhaul in the future.
Photo: IRWELL and her seven carriage train at Terrace Junction, by R.Payne.
25 February 2018