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THE LOCOMOTIVES OF THE WHITEHAVEN, CLEATOR AND EGREMONT RAILWAY
The Whitehaven, Cleator & Egremont started operations with four locomotives. When the line was absorbed by the Furness and London & North-Western Railways in 1879 this number had grown to 17. All were tank engines; all but two were of the saddle variety and were 0-6-0's. Only one (NO. 12) had outside cylinders and she was a 2-4-0 locomotive.
Of the first batch of four engines delivered, three ( Nos. 1,2 and 4) had the same dimensions: wheels, 4 feet 6ins. dia.; cylinders, 16 x 24 in. and 125 lbs. pressure. All had outside bearings. No. 3, "Victoria," was a short side-tank and had wheels, 4 feet 6 ins. dia.; cylinders, 14 x 22 ins.; and inside bearings. Steam pressure was 125 lbs. In 1867 she disgraced herself by bursting her boiler at Moor Row, happily without fatal results to her crew. After this unhappy event she received a new boiler pressed to 150 lbs. No. 4, "Keekle" had a long career. After the Furness got her in 1878, she was rebuilt with cab, Ramsbottom safety valves and sundry other "refinements." She continued to run, mainly on the Cleator & Workington Railway, for which the Furness supplied nearly all the motive power, down to the 1914-18 War period. One of her last duties prior to withdrawal was that of shunter at Preston Street Goods Yard, Whitehaven.
In her original condition, "Keekle" had a longitudinal mid-feather in the fire-box, and two fire-holes. she was re-boilered in 1895.
The next batch of eight locomotives (Nos. 5 to 12) which were put into traffic between 1860 and 1869 and had the cylinders increased to 17 x 24 ins., were all replicas of Nos. 1 and 2, except the last of the bunch, No. 12, "marron." This 2-4-0 side tank, which had outside cylinders 14 x 22 ins., was the only passenger engine possessed by the company. She was "the ugly duckling" on the line. Her driving wheels were 5 feet 6 ins. in diameter. It is understood that a few years after her arrival on the W. C. & E., "Marron" was sent to the Lowca Foundry of Messrs. Fletcher, Jennings & Co. for overhaul. There her cylinders were altered to 15 x 20 ins. and her wheels reduced to 5 feet dia.
"Marron" was not new when the company purchased her and it is thought that she came from a line in South Wales or from the North London Railway. She had been built by Slaughter & Co. and carried the number "3" on the front of her chimney when she arrived. She weighed 34 tons.
When "Marron" was taken over by the Furness in 1878, she lost her nameplate, in common with the rest of the W. C. & E. locomotives. However, she received the nickname of "Old Jeff" and another unprintable designation. In the words of one who knew her "she was a source of trouble to all concerned." "Marron" became No. 108 in the F. R. list, 108A (Duplicate List) in 1904 and was scrapped in the same year.
No. 6, "Parkside," differed from her sisters in having the two bottom rows of boiler tubes projecting through the smoke-box, making it possible to see into the interior of the fire-box by looking over the front buffer-beam. She was also fitted with an American type cab which had glass side windows- an unheard of luxury in Britain in those days. It is possible that she may have been originally built for service across the Atlantic.
"Newton Manor" (No. 11) started her career badly. She was particularly susceptible to derailment and spent much of her period of W. C. & E. ownership in the Moor Row shops. In 1880, however, MR. E. ROSE, the Locomotive Superintendent at Moor Row under the Furness regime, took her in hand. Among other things he altered her axle box cheeks. After this "Newton Manor" ran for 18 months without a derailment.
This locomotive was also involved in two other "pranks," one of which might have had fatal results for her crew. In the first instance, she broke her trailing axle near Sellafield, but being a double-framed engine, she kept on the road. It was in 1880 that she really let herself go.
On this occasion, "Newton Manor" was shunting the sidings at Seaton, while doing duty on the Cleator and Workington Railway. Driver TYSON, who had her as his engine over 30 years, was the regulator. Shunting being completed, No. 11 reversed to pickup her train. The fireman got down from the cab to couple up to the leading wagon and Driver TYSON also left the footplate to obtain the train staff from the signal box for the single line working down to Cloffocks Junction. Just after the crew had left the engine, her boiler burst. To quote TYSON'S own words; "There was a loud report like a cannon going off, and stones and ballast were flying about in steam and hot water." Luckily no one was hurt, although TYSON and his mate got their hands scalded when trying to lift the fire-bars up to let the fire out and save the lead plug. When her saddle tank was lifted off, it was found that the middle plate of "Newton Manor's boiler had given way, about six inches above the delivery clack. Following a Board of Trade enquiry at Barrow, "Newton Manor" was given a new boiler pressed to 150 lbs. and proved an excellent engine for many more years. Among her best performances was the running of a goods train from Corkickle Sidings to Millom, 30 miles, in the booked time of 45 minutes. This time included three slacks for hand exchange of the train staff between Corkickle and Sellafield. Given a reasonable load, she kept time with ease.
Of the further additions to the locomotive stud during the period 1869-3, all came from Stephenson's. "Springfield" and "Buttermere" had outside frames, but "Derwentwater" had the inside variety. Cylinder dimensions and working pressure remained unaltered.
The last two engines purchased by the company were delivered in 1875. both were supplied by MESSRS. ANDREW BARCLAY of Kilmarnock. No. 16, "Ullswater," was 0-4-0 saddle tank and was sold to Crewe as a shunting engine by the Furness almost as soon as they acquired her. Nothing more was heard of her until the 1914-18 War period. Then "Ullswater" turned up in the yard of the Whitehaven Haematite Iron & Steel Company at Cleator Moor. She had been hired from Crewe as a shunting engine. She was scrapped in 1919.
No. 17, "Wastwater," was practically a replica of No. 14, "Derwentwater." She became No. 112 on the Furness list until 1899, when she became No. 108. Seven years later she went on to Duplicate List and was the last of the W. C. & E. engines to be withdrawn - in 1923.
All the W. C. & E. locomotives, except Nos. 3, 12, 14, 16 and 17, had outside frames. They were painted green, with red and white lining out. They had polished brass domes and the buffer beams and motion were painted vermilion. When supplied, Nos. 1, 2, 4 and 5 were domeless. They were all fitted with domes by MR. ROBSON as they went through the shops. The practice of painting the motion vermilion was continued by the Furness after they took the engines over. All weighed 44 tons in working order, except "Marron" (36 tons) and "Victoria" (34 tons.)
"Marron" had the distinction of being the only outside-cylindered engine ever owned by the Furness Railway. The latter fitted all the W. C. & E. locomotives with steel boilers as they passed through the shops, as the lap-joints of the longitudinal seams of the original iron ones were a frequent source of trouble.
The whole of the W. C. & E. stock eventually went on to the Furness Duplicate List before being withdrawn. Throughout they worked almost entirely on or near their "home ground." A number did regular duty on the Cleator & Workington Railway towards the end of their days and were mostly shedded at Moor Row and Workington (Central.)
Compared with the high-pitched Furness whistle, the W. C. & E. engines had quite a deep toned variety fitted. The pitch was not unlike that of an L. & Y. locomotive. The exhaust note was rather deep and hollow. All engines were kept in immaculate condition. Like the locomotives of the Whitehaven & Furness Junction Railway, they were fitted with a narrow set of buffers inside and slightly below the standard pair for dealing with the "chaldron" type iron ore wagons used on the line.
The company had its own locomotive shops at Moor Row were most repairs could be carried out, and a little rolling stock also appears to have been constructed there. The passenger coaches were painted in chocolate livery.
The following were the original engine-drivers on the W. C. & E.: MESSRS McDOWELL, CARRON, GILL, J. FISHER, MYERS, LUCAS, GRUNDALL, T. WEIR, J. TYSON, MURDOCK, BRAITHWAITE, SHILTON, R. ROTHERY and W. ANDERSON.
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