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Hunslet Austerity 0-6-0ST No. 3890 (NCB66)

NCB66 on first steam test 24th April 2015

Tony Lyster - NCB66 on first steam test 24th April 2015 (despite date stamp on camera!)

NCB66 during the 2015 Steam Gala

Robert Frise - NCB66 during the 2015 Steam Gala

An Austerity, built by Hunslet, No. 3890 was the last standard steam locomotive built in this country for the home market (that is until the recent completion of Tornado) with an official date of construction of 19th February 1964. It was the 484th Austerity to be constructed. The locomotive became No. 66 in the South Yorkshire NCB fleet and was sent to Cadeby Main Colliery, Conisborough on 27 March 1964.

The locomotive was originally fitted with a mechanical stoker to assist in one-man operation, and a gas producer to reduce smoke emissions - both a brave attempt to extend the life of the steam locomotive. Further details of this system are provided in the description of Austerity locomotives. The gas producer system and mechanical stoker fell into disuse, and conventional methods of firing were adopted, an ordinary grate being fitted. This meant that when the Conisborough area was designated a smokeless zone in 1970, the locomotive had to be replaced by an ex-BR diesel shunter.

No. 66 was out of use at Cadeby Main Colliery from 1970, and a number of years later put up for sale. A Quainton member was the successful tenderer, out of 20 other potential buyers, including the NRM at York. The locomotive was complete and there were spares, including eight sets of brake shoes, firebars, springs and tools included in the sale. No. 66 was delivered to Quainton on the 4th November 1975. A number of years later the locomotive became the property of QRS.

Whilst the locomotive was complete and generally in good order when it arrived at Quainton, there was one significant problem that stopped its use for many years - the condition of its tyres. When No. 66 worked at Cadeby Colliery her duties included hauling trains of coal wagons over the two mile straight track to Mexborough. Gradients were quite severe but the worst part was a length of about ¼ mile near the washing plant where the rails disappeared under six inches of slurry. The effect of this abrasive on the tyres and the brake blocks can be imagined, and the copious use of sand, up to ¼ ton a day per loco, was a good way to machine a grove of rail width into each tyre.

After many years awaiting a heavy overhaul, including a requirement for major tyre renewal works, No. 66 entered the restoration queue. The chassis was sent away for partial overhaul to South Coast Steam. The chassis returned to Quainton during 2009, with some outstanding work to be completed at Quainton. The boiler was sent to Locomotive Maintenance Services at Loughborough for contract repair and overhaul. The tested boiler returned to Quainton in June 2014, and was immediately craned into the frames of the rolling chassis. The boiler was steamed in frames and then a new smokebox was fitted, followed by the cab roof, chimney and tanks. NCB No. 66 was successfully returned to public service during the May 2015 Steam Gala.

No. 66 appeared at the Hunslet 150 Gala at the Middleton Railway on the 18 - 19th July 2015. Here she appeared alongside a number of other operational Hunslet products including:

After the Hunslet 150 Gala No. 66 returned to Quainton, later attending the Chasewater Railway Industrial Gala on 5th and 6th September 2015. Here she appeared hauling a short rake of Merry-go-round (MGR) wagons.

The Last One for Quainton! - Quainton News No. 26 - Winter 1975
Spartacus or a Pair of Sixes - Quainton News No. 28 Summer 1976
The Elimination of Dark Smoke and The Improvement of Locomotive Efficiency - Quainton News No. 29 Autumn 1976
Fleet Report: 6989 Wightwick Hall - Quainton News Nos. 105 - 107 Triple Issue 2011/12

NCB66 at the Chasewater Railway, 6th September 2015

Andrew Bratton - NCB66 at the Chasewater Railway, 6th September 2015

NCB66 as delivered to Quainton

Robert Frise - NCB66 as delivered to Quainton

NCB66's replica builders plate

Colin Ashman - NCB66's replica builders plate

Builder :- Hunslet Date Built :- 1964 Works No. :- 3890
Running No. :- 66 Name :- - Wheel Arrangement :- 0-6-0ST
Tractive Effort :- 23, 870 lb Boiler Pressure :- 170 psi Cylinder Dimensions :- 18" x 26"
Weight :- 48t 10c Driving Wheel Dia. :- 4' 3" Owner :- QRS
Status :- Operational Location :- Up Yard Shed Accession Number :- W/0012
Arrival Date :- Quainton 1975 / QRS 1990

Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
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Page Updated: 06 January 2018