Saturday, 28 June 2014

The last locomotive, to date, built in Manchester

Charlie Hulme's excellent North Wales Coast Railway site (, on its 'Notice Board; News' section recently credited West Highland Railway (formerly South African Railways) Beyer Garratt no.143 as the last ever steam locomotive to be built in Manchester, and the last loco of any kind to be built in the city being also a Beyer Peacock, Class 25 diesel D7659 (later 25 309).

WHR 158, from the North Wales Railway site, copyright Martin Evans

That's perfectly true... except for 'Planet'.

I felt I had to remind Charlie that back when the Manchester Museum of Science & Industry had its own workshops (workshops in the real sense of the word rather than discussion groups) and the capability to do 'real engineering', it built the last locomotive to date in Manchester, and one I work on as volunteer footplate crew. Charlie, accommodating as ever where correct recording of railway history is concerned, published the following entry in the next 'Notice Board'. The picture is one I took a few years ago at Loughborough on the Great Central Railway when 'Planet' was taking part in their 'Golden Oldies' weekend.

MoSI's replica 'Planet' locomotive at Loughborough, on the Great Central Railway

If we make a claim in one of these effusions that something is the first, last, biggest, smallest, etc. the chances are that someone will immediately email to prove us wrong. Such is the case with our suggestions in the 16 June issue concerning Beyer Peacock locomotives being the last to be built in Manchester. Vince Chadwick, a volunteer worker on the Museum of Scence and Industry railway sends the above picture of Planet, a working replica of a Liverpool and Manchester loco, which was built in the Museum's Manchester workshop and completed in 1992, many years after the demise of Beyer Peacock.


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