Peckett 0-4-0ST No. 2100 “William Murdoch”
In 2016 we were fortunate to be offered the chance to hire a Steam Locomotive. She is a Peckett 0-4-0 saddle tank, works No. 2100 built in 1949 and is named, somewhat appropriately, after the famed Cornish mining engineer William Murdoch.
She is believed to have spent her entire career at the former Hilsea Gas Works and upon the closure of that organisation ownership passed to Portsmouth City Council. For many years she has been under the care of the GWR Preservation Group based at Southall and thanks to them and Portsmouth City Council we now have her on loan.
Peckett locomotives are the true work horse of many industrial rail complexes and the company has a long history of building robust engines. In 1864 Fox, Walker and Company in Bristol began building four and six-coupled saddle tank engines for industrial use. They also built stationary engines and pioneered steam tramcars with most of their output being exported. They were taken over by Thomas Peckett in 1880, becoming Peckett and Sons, Atlas Engine Works, Bristol. By 1900 the two companies had built over 400 locomotives.
The company continued producing a variety of small industrial and shunting engines at their factory located between Fishponds and Kingswood in Bristol. They became specialists in the field, with very precise specifications and standardisation of parts.
During the two World Wars, the works were especially busy, but by 1950 trade had largely dried up and, although in 1956 an attempt had been made to enter the diesel-mechanical market, the last steam engine was produced in 1958.
So William Murdoch was built during the last years of the company. The locomotive is currently undergoing its 10 year boiler overhaul and we are hoping to see her in service during 2019.
Peckett 0-4-0ST No. 1788 “Kilmersdon”
2018 saw the return of regular timetabled passenger trains to the branch for the first time in over 55 years. To achieve this the company hired ‘Kilmersdon’ from the Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust. To provide more information, we have posted the following snippet from their website.
“When the Radstock collieries finally closed in 1973, the National Coal Board placed its industrial 0-4-0 saddle tank in the care of the Trust. Built by Peckett of Bristol in 1929 and numbered 1788, it was moved by road from Kilmersdon Colliery to the Trust’s Radstock base via an appearance at the Camerton Traction Engine Rally. Since the Trust’s move to Washford, it has given regular shunting demonstrations there, and has masqueraded as ‘Percy’ at the West Somerset Railway’s ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ events. Ownership was subsequently transferred to the Trust, and in 2013 following a complete overhaul, it appeared in splendid SDJR Prussian Blue lined livery.”