War Office Hunslet makes steam debut

THE War Office Locomotive Trust’s ex-WDLR Hunslet 4-6-0T No. 303 (1215/1916) made its debut in steam at a private July 8 event at Statfold Barn Railway.

The locomotive was bought in Australia in 2004 by The War Office Locomotive Society and returned to Britain in September 2005. Ownership was then transferred to the specially formed trust in early-2012.

A sight not seen in Britain for 60 years: A War Department Hunslet 4-6-0T in steam – and appropriately guarded by a First World War uniformed soldier. At the microphone is restoration team leader Martyn Ashworth. To the right (also in First World War attire) is War Office Locomotive Trust chairman Ian Hughes, who secured the purchase of WDLR No. 303 in Australia in 2004. Beside Ian is Alan Freebury, while standing beside Statfold Barn Railway’s Hunslet-built 0-4-2ST 3902/1971 Trangkil No. 4 is Mike Lynsky, both members of the team who restored No. 303. CLIFF THOMAS

Restoration started when the boiler was lifted in February 2012, with the frames then going to a private restoration base where work started in earnest.

The task undertaken by the volunteer team led by Martyn Ashworth proved far more challenging and costly than envisaged, with numerous unexpected problems arising.

Nearly 21,000 hours were expended bringing the restoration to a conclusion.

Read more in the August issue of The RM – on sale now!

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