LMS Class 5 (Black Five) 4-6-0 No.45491

No.45491 is a member of one of the most successful and numerous classes of British railway locomotives. First introduced by William Stanier of the LMS in 1934 building extended into the British Rail period on an almost continuous basis, the last example being built in 1951 by which time a total of 842 locomotives had been built. Some of the early batches were built by private contractors Vulcan Foundry and Armstrong Whitworth but the vast majority were built in the LMS then BR railway workshops at Crewe, Derby and Horwich.

No.45491, originally numbered 5491, was built at Derby Works in December, 1943 during the 2nd World War, at a cost of £9,332. It was sent immediately to Corkerhill Depot on the western outskirts of Glasgow to assist with the essential movement of wartime freight traffic. During this time the needs of the war effort would see the locomotive move to all corners of the network often spending many days away from its own deport.

After the war and nationalisation the locomotive gained its present number of 45491 and it settled into a more regular pattern of freight and passenger work. In July, 1952 it was transferred to Carlisle (Kingmoor) working the fitted freights over the West Coast Main Line which included the ascents of the gradients at Shap and Beattock. Other freight workings took it over the Settle and Carlisle line to Leeds. No.45491 was also involved in passenger work and was used on Glasgow to Crewe expresses and on local stopping trains from Carlisle to Hellifield, Skipton and Leeds. The practise of other sheds using “borrowed” available locomotives was common and No.45491 was noted on a Blackpool to Wakefield (Westgate) scheduled service in 1959 and on a holiday excursion from Head of Ayr, where Butlin’s Holiday Camp was, to Leeds in June, 1961.

No.45491 was withdrawn from BR service in July, 1965 and quickly made its way to Woodham’s scrapyard at Barry in October of that year. It languished at Barry for almost 16 years before being bought and rescued by the West Lancashire Black 5 Society and moved to the ICI works at Hillhouse in 1981.  The locomotive was subsequently moved to the Fleetwood Steam Centre before being purchased by its current owner Phil Wainwright and moving to Midland Railway Centre at Butterly in September 1991.  She arrived at the Great Central Railway at Quorn & Woodhouse in 2011.

The locomotive has had a lot of the restoration work completed already and the chassis and tender are all but finished.  Restoration work so far has included replacing 3 of the 4 bogie axleboxes (originals stolen), new tyres being fitted to the driving wheels and re-boring the cylinders, as well as the locating and manufacturing of numerous missing components.

Work now continues mainly on the boiler, which already has had a new firebox tube plate fitted together with a new copper internal steam pipe.  Now that the smokebox and door have been refitted, re-tubing will soon follow.  Meanwhile, volunteers from the Loughborough Standard Locomotives Group Ltd are making good progress with the manufacture of new cladding.  It is hoped that there will be a return to steam shortly.

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