Page 5 of 15
Historical data regarding the locomotives of the Whitehaven & Furness Junction Railway is somewhat scanty. A list of the 19 engines owned by the company in 1866 is given below:
# NAME TYPE BUILDER
1 Excelsior -0-4-2 R. W. Hawthorn
2 Hecla do do
3 Mars do do
4 Oberon -2-2-2 tank E. B. Wilson
5 Titania do do
6 Phoenix do R. W. Hawthorn
7 Petrel ? tank E. B. Wilson ?
8 Tubal-Cain -0-6-0 Stephenson
9 King Lear do do
10 Queen Mab -2-2-2 tank R. W. Hawthorn
11 Kelpie ? tank E. B. Wilson
12 Big Ben ? tank Fletcher, Jennings
13 Sirius -0-4-2 R. W. Hawthorn
14 Vulcan -0-6-0 Stephenson
15 Banshee -0-4-0 tank Fletcher, Jennings
16 Bob Ridley do Neilson
17 Gurth -0-6-0 R. W. Hawthorn ?
18 Cedric do do
19 Lonsdale do do
Of the above list, the four -0-4-2 engines were supplied in either 1856 or 1857 by MESSRS. HAWTHORN'S of Newcastle-on Tyne All had coupled wheels 5 feet 6 inches diameter, and trailing wheels 3 feet 6 inches.
All had four-wheel tenders. "Excelsior" and "Mars" were sister engines and had 16x22 in. cylinders. "Hecla" and "Sirius" bore consecutive works numbers (997 and 998) and had 14 x 22 in. cylinders.
The four little -2-2-2 locomotives were all well tanks. E.B. Wilson's of Leeds, supplied "Oberon" and "Titania" in 1860. Their dimensions were as follows:
Cylinders 12x18 ins.; driving wheels, 5 feet 3 ins. dia.; working pressure, 120 lbs. Their heating surface was 739 square feet and the well tanks held 500 gallons of water. Coal space carried 25 cwts. and the :all-up: weight of these " dwarfs" was 27 tons.
"Queen Mab" and "Phoenix" were probably sister engines and were purchased from Hawthorn's about 1861. They had driving wheels 5 feet 6 ins. dia., and cylinders 14x22 ins.
Little is known about "Kelpie" and "Petrel." their wheel notation is uncertain. Both were probably supplied by E.B. Wilson's. Details about No. 12 ("Big Ben") are equally scanty. She is believed to have been a tank engine, but of what type or what number of wheels she had, nothing is definitely known. She was built by MESSRS. FLETCHER, JENNINGS & CO., of Lowca Foundry, near Whitehaven.
Three of the -0-6-0 which MESSRS. HAWTHORN'S supplied ("Gurth, " "Cedric" and "Lonsdale") had cylinders either 14 or 16x24 ins. Working pressure was 120 lbs. Coupled wheels were 4 feet 6 ins. dia., and heating surface 918 square feet. Their four-wheeled tenders carried 1,600 gallons of water. they were all supplied about 1864, and "Lonsdale" at least is know to have originally had outside bearings.
The remaining -0-6-0's ("King Lear," "Tubal-Cain" and "Vulcan") which came from Stephenson's, of Newcastle-on-Tyne, are believed to have been very similar to the Hawthorn products. Their building dates are not known.
Finally there were the two little -0-4-0 tanks, "Banshee" and "Bob Ridley." They were almost exclusively employed on mineral traffic between Corkickle sidings and Whitehaven harbour. Both had outside cylinders 10x16 ins. and 4 feet diameter wheels. :Bob Ridley,: built by Neilson, had side tanks and "gab" reversing gear. She was built in 1861. "Banshee," which was a saddle tank, came from Lowca Foundry a year later. Both these "midgets" were really engines of the colliery type.
Owing to the fact that certain engines of the W. & F. J. worked over the Whitehaven Junction Railway from Whitehaven to Maryport and Cockermouth, which was absorbed by the London & North-Western Railway; the motive power of the W. & F. J. was divided up between the L. & N. W. and the Furness when the latter absorbed the Whitehaven and Furness Junction Company. The result of this was that the Furness got ten engines and the L. N. W. nine. Those which went to Crewe were Nos. 2 and 7 to 14 inclusive; they were broken up almost immediately. It was hardly likely that a large company like the North-Western would have any use for the somewhat motley collection of non-standard engines which they received.
A number of the ten engines taken over by the Furness had quite lengthy and varied careers still before them.
The two -0-4-2 tender engines, "Excelsior" and "Mars" were given the number 44 and 45 in the Furness list and ran until 1882. In that year they were sold, but to whom is not known.
The three -2-2-2 well tanks didn't stay long with the Furness. "Oberon" and "Titania" were sold in 1870, again to an unknown purchaser. No. 6, "Phoenix" was also sold, almost as soon as she was acquired by the Furness, to the Isle of Wight Railway where she was re-named "Newport" and ran for a number of years.
The fate of -0-6-0 No. 17, "Gurth," is uncertain and she may have been scrapped immediately; but "Cedric" probably ran for some time and No. 19, "Lonsdale," had the distinction of surviving, although in a very much re-built form, right down to 1923. She had even the doubtful honour of being allocated a London, Midland & Scottish number! Re-numbered 42 by the Furness, :Lonsdale: was eventually re-built with inside bearings and was re-boilered more than once. It was fitting that she was generally stationed at the Northern end of the Furness system, either at Whitehaven or Moor Row shed. She was later re-numbered 66.
Finally, there was the fate of the two little -0-4-0 tanks. :Bob Ridley" and "Banshee."
Their stories are the most interesting of the lot. Both remained on the F. R. list, as Nos. 49 and 50 respectively until 1882, when they were sold. By this time there was probably little work for them to do. In 1878 the Furness Railway obtained their joint interest in the Whitehaven, Cleator and Egremont Railway. This meant that the engines of the latter company could now work through the Whitehaven tunnel and the need for engines to handle the "exchange" traffic at Corkickle would cease. The heavy iron ore and pig iron traffic for shipment from Whitehaven harbour now went via the tunnel, and the Market Place line was no longer needed.
The two "midgets" were purchased by MESSRS. RAMSEY Brothers, a Whitehaven engineering firm. "Banshee" was re-sold to MESSRS. DALZIEL & Co. who sent her to shunt at their Iron Mills at Moor Row. Here she remained down to 1916 when she was scrapped after a life of 54 years.
"Bob Ridley" was retained by MESSRS. RAMSEY Brothers until 1898. During that period she was employed as the Whitehaven Dock shunting engine: MESSRS. RAMSEY having the contract for this job during that period. In 1898 the little veteran was sold once more. This time the purchaser was the Ellenborough Collier, near Maryport, and the "Bob Ridley" went, with "gab: gear still intact, but with a new set of 3 foot 6 inch wheels, to do a number of useful years' work before being broken up.
The question might be asked why the majority of the Whitehaven, Cleator and Egremont engines survived so much longer with the Furness than the ones described in this chapter. For a time the W. F. J. engines could be used between Whitehaven and Millom where the gradients were easy and the loads fairly light. Later, however, the loads were stepped up and here the W. C. & E. locomotives, nearly all powerful tank engines with 17 inch cylinders, came into their own and were a valuable acquisition of the Furness locomotive stud.
The Whitehaven Furness Junction locomotives were painted dark green, with little or no "lining out." As already stated all had double sets of buffers for dealing with the "Chauldron type: iron ore wagons. Judging from the photo of "Excelsior" on page 23 they had a good deal of polished brass work about them. Most of the locomotives had outside bearings and the -0-4-2's had "slab" cranks. The -0-6-0's "Lonsdale," "Cedric" and possibly "Gurth" are believed to have been designed by MR. MEIKLE, the first Locomotive Superintendent. All engines carried their names and numbers cast on a brass plate, with the number immediately above the name.
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