29 ”Vanguard” RH 195846/1939

Vanguard on brakevan trials.

This loco was built for a contractor, Baldry, Yarborough & Hutchinson, and was dispatched from Ruston’s Boulton works in Lincoln on 12/4/39 to connect with a ship to take it from Leith (Edinburgh) to Hoy island in the Orkneys. The loco’s owners were undertaking a contract for the Admiralty at the Scapa Flow Naval Base. At some stage, the loco appears to have become government property, and was sold as war surplus, being noted in the yard of Gloucestershire dealer Fred Watkins, Sling Engineering works, Coleford on 22/10/1946. By 1947, it had returned to Scotland and was found at Southern Garage (Dumfries) 0n 6/8/1947.

The loco was later with the Department of Agricultural Science’s De-Watered Peat Experimental Station, Gardrum Moss near Falkirk, before moving yet again to the Lancashire Moss Litter Co Ltd, Nook Lane, Astley. March 1976 saw a further move, to the yard of ME Engineering, the London-based loco dealers. When ME ceased trading, the loco (indeed all locos still at ME at the time) were transferred to Alan Keef Ltd at their Lea Line works.

The loco finally entered preservation, joining the MRT collection on 2/9/89. At some stage in its industrial career, it was decided to re-gauge it from 2’0” to 2’6”. This requires a wider chassis to accommodate the wheels. This was achieved by cutting the frame in half longitudinally, adding 6” of steel at either end and welding it all back together. After all this work the loco stayed 2’0” after all. It seems probable that this was done during the loco’s stay at ME Engineering – none of its other owners would have had the means or the need to carry out such major surgery. However, a spin off benefit for the MRT was that the wider frames allowed the installation of electric start apparatus – a rare luxury on this type of Ruston.

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