Delight for Narrow Gauge Railway Society as classic British locomotive arrives

The new delivered locomotive Holton arriving. Picture: Ken Penrose

The new delivered locomotive Holton arriving. Picture: Ken Penrose - Credit: Archant

Officials of the Halesworth to Southwold Narrow Gauge Railway Society have expressed delight after a classic British locomotive made its way to a workshop near Halesworth.

The Narrow Gauge Railway Society, which was formed earlier this year, has now taken delivery of its first locomotive – with the RFS diesel-hydraulic locomotive No. RS 106 to become Halesworth Southwold Railway (HSR) No. 6 'Holton'.

It has been bought from Alan Keef Ltd of Ross-on-Wye by two Society members for use on the future HSR. James Hewett and Ken Penrose, co-chairmen of the Society, said: 'This classic British locomotive, built in Kilnhurst, South Yorkshire in 1989, was used in the Channel Tunnel surface works, and is substantially complete, though requiring some restoration.'

Although HSR plans, in the longer term, to provide steam haulage, including replicating original 1879 steam locomotive 'Halesworth', there will always be requirements for off-season trains, permanent way trains and back-up haulage in extremely dry weather when steam provides a fire-risk – a relatively-modern but traditionally-designed locomotive such as this is an essential part of HSR's plans.

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The loco has a widely-used Cummins low-emissions turbo-diesel engine rated at 150hp, which is more than adequate for future heavy trains, and it already has fail-safe locomotive and train air-brakes fitted – which are a legal requirement for passenger trains. 'Holton' can also provide braking power so that a steam locomotive that lacks continuous brakes can still be used, with the two locos coupled together, on a passenger train.

The Society is appealing for help with refurbishing this locomotive. People with experience of Cummins engines and hydraulic power-trains are particularly welcome, but anyone can become involved – just by joining the Society for £5 per year.

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The Society – which is complementary to the Southwold Railway Trust, and not opposed to it – was formed to restore the narrow gauge railway between Halesworth and Wenhaston. The long-term ambition is to restore the entire eight-mile line and is anxious to hear from any owner of part of the original trackbed who might be willing to allow the railway to be rebuilt there.

If you would like to be involved e-mail or call 07379 789 665.

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