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Hunslet 0-6-0ST No. 1589 ‘Newstead’
Hunslet 0-6-0ST No. 1589 ‘Newstead’
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HistoryThis class of engine is regarded by many as one of the finer industrial engines built; smooth and free running and capable of good speed and acceleration - well suited to smaller trains on heritage lines, with the small wheels making them sound quite ferocious!
Newstead was built at the Hunslet Engine Company in Leeds, for general stock. Just as a car today would be made for a showroom! She was bought by the South Kirkby Featherstone & Hemsworth Collieries, which had also bought the first of this class – Fitzwilliam. In fact, several were bought for collieries of this area – the design was clearly popular. Newstead and her sisters shunted wagons of coal from the colliery and marshalled them into trains for transport around the country – with everything coal powered it was lifeblood for the country.In 1947 when all collieries were nationalised, Newstead became the property of the National Coal Board. Between November 1954 and October 1955, she was loaned to Frickley Colliery. She then moved permanently to Woolley Colliery in the first half of 1965. At that time Woolley was producing 17,000 tons of coal each week - one of the largest collieries in the west Yorkshire area. Woolley Colliery closed in 1987, was demolished in 1993, and above the surface at least has vanished. Newstead is one of the few remnants of this once great colliery….
In 1972 Newstead was out of use, destined to follow her shedmates to the scrap heap… However a collector of heritage vehicles saw Newstead, that she was complete and in good condition. So, he sold his steam roller and saved Newstead from scrap, telling his wife, “we’re going to have a steam engine”! And sure enough Newstead emerged from. In the 1980’s Newstead moved to Suffolk Steam, for restoration to working order returning to steam in the 1990s.
Newstead was then moved to a convent where the plan was to build a railway around the gardens. The loco disappeared from view in a shed behind poplar trees and was presumed scrapped.
In 2015, the owner sadly passed away, his widow faced the difficult task of parting with her husband’s greatest legacy. A small group from the Nene Valley Railway was invited down. After tea and biscuits with Mother Superior, they were amazed to find a complete engine, essentially in working order, perfectly hidden away. In 2016 Newstead was bought and moved to Nene Valley Railway, becoming something of a national celebrity, with coverage in the national railway press and local TV.
It took 3 days, and several local farmers with their tractors, to extract Newstead as she was unable to move out through the now huge poplar trees. Newstead was dragged inch by inch across the convent ground by a tractor and a small army of volunteers carrying rails and sleepers by hand.
Once at the Nene Valley Railway, a small group of volunteers began dismantling her for assessment. The cab, boiler, tank and all the fittings were removed. The firebox was described as gorgeous by the boiler inspector. Further work was required before the return to steam and sadly the Nene Valley were unwilling to host this and a new home was sought. Over two dozen railways hoped to host Newstead, from Scotland to Devon, and even Ireland. The obvious first choice was Spa Valley Railway, with its historic engine shed, town location and scenic journey. In October 2018 Newstead made her way down the M25 to her new home at the Spa Valley Railway, with more TV coverage. Here a start was made on the overhaul in the former steam shed.
A volunteer project:Newstead is now at the Spa Valley Railway receiving a comprehensive overhaul to enable her to be a key part of the Spa Valley Railway fleet in the next few years. A team of around a dozen volunteers is growing, aged from 14 to 80+, male and female, all excited to see Newstead return to steam. Its wonderful to see people giving their time, enabling that great day when Newstead comes back to life. Even more, it is wonderful to see young lads learn new skills and start an engineering journey, as well as retired people become energised by a new challenge. If this appeals we’d like to share our adventure with you – firstname.lastname@example.org or just call Alex on 07710 750366.
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