Thursday, 2 June 2011

Agecroft No. 1

Agecroft Power Station near Manchester, now closed, was coal-fired. There's a brief history here. Before the construction of a conveyor from the adjacent colliery, the coal arrived by rail and there were three 0-4-0 saddle tanks called (logically if unimaginately) Agecroft 1, 2 and 3 to handle the shunting. These locomotives were built by Robert Stephenson and Hawthorn Ltd in Newcastle to a standard design dating back to the early 1900s. This design, with 14-inch cylinders, was adopted as the standard small shunter by the British Electrical Authority and similar locomotives were used in various power stations across the country. Agecroft No. 1 (works number 7416) and Agecroft No. 2 were delivered in 1948 and Agecroft No. 3 (with minor differences) followed in 1952.

By the time I became involved in railway preservation, Agecroft No. 3 had moved to what was then called 'MMSI' (the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry) where it provided train rides to visitors at the weekend. Agecroft No. 3 was the second locomotive I drove. Sadly, when the locomotive required extensive repairs, the museum disposed of her to Swindon Museum.

Agecroft No. 2 is now at the Ribble Steam Railway.

After partial restoration in private hands, the 'kit of parts' for Agecroft No. 1 was acquired by the museum, now called 'MOSI' (Museum of Science and Industry). The restoration has been completed mainly by museum volunteers and there is, once again, an 'Agecroft' to provide train rides.

Initially, Agecroft No. 1 is being used to cover periods when the 'Planet' replica is off-site, visiting other railways. 'Planet' was at the Great Central Railway for the Spring Bank Holiday weekend and so my driving turn at Manchester on the 28th May was the first time I'd had 'hands-on' with Agecroft No. 1, operating with a B.R. suburban coach, formerly used on the lines out of King's Cross and a 20-ton brake van.

Pictures of Agecroft No. 1.