Three ‘unusual’ locos

Posted by Chris Graham on 12th April 2021

The 2ft-gauge railway at Amerton Farm in Staffordshire is home to three ‘unusual’ locos built by EE Baguley of Burton-on-Trent in the 1930s-1940s, writes Phil Barnes.

Three 'unusual' locos

Three ‘unusual’ locos: Dreadnought with a passenger train at the Amerton Railway on August 15th, 2004. Photo: Phil Barnes.

Among these three ‘unusual’ locos are the 1935-built Trentham Express, formerly Golspie, loco No. 2085 and the 1939-built No. 3024 Dreadnought. Both are steam outline, diesel-powered locomotives with mechanical transmission and thus not unreasonably known as ‘pretenders’.

No. 2085 has been housed in the workshops undergoing restoration, and its 60hp Perkins 4.270 diesel engine was started for the first time in over 20 years in April 2013. Further work on this machine included repairs to the linkage of the forward and reverse gearbox and re-machining of components in the three-speed gearbox which was retro-fitted in 1938. The culmination of this work was that the loco ran up and down the yard outside the workshops in September 2016.

When new, this four-ton loco was supplied to the Trentham Gardens railway in Staffordshire and was powered by a Baguley petrol engine, which was replaced at the same time as the gearbox. After service at Trentham, it landed up at Alton Towers, albeit never used there, before relocation to Amerton in May 2000 and thus this machine has never been out of the county it was built in! The loco is still deemed to be very original and once fully refurbished, will be repainted into Trentham Gardens Railway red and re-named Golspie.

By the seaside
The second of the 1930s ‘pretenders’ machines is the 3½-ton Dreadnought, which first went to Wilson’s Pleasure Railway at Allhallows-on-Sea and was initially fitted with a 24hp Ford petrol engine. After the Second World War, it moved to the pier railway at Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex, where it was re-engined with a Lister FR2 and later an SR3 18hp engine; however, it retained its two-speed gearbox, which feeds the front axle by chains, with coupling rods linking to the rear axle. After the pier was damaged by a storm in the late 1970s, Dreadnought underwent a couple of relocations in the 1980s before arriving at Amerton in 1991. After that, it has undergone a rebuild to near original condition, but keeping its SR3 engine and today is fully air-braked, so it can work the railway’s passenger stock. In 2016 Dreadnought was also out of service like Golspie, in need of an engine and gearbox overhaul.

In late 2017 a third ‘pretender’ arrived at Amerton in the form of loco No. 3235 of 1947. This engine first saw use at Butlins, Skegness, before being moved to Butlins, Filey, in 1953 where it remained until 1976, when it entered ‘preservation’. It was stored at several locations including Callington, Cornwall, and Colne, Lancashire, after which in 2007 it returned to the Tamar area at Bere Ferrers station before being sold privately to an Amerton member, arriving there in October 2017. Ironically, when No. 3235 arrived at Amerton, its older sister Dreadnought was undergoing the aforementioned engine rebuild. However, looking at various pictures of No. 3235, it will need more than an engine rebuild to make it serviceable!

As well as this hat-trick of Baguley ‘pretenders’, there are three Baguley-built coaches here – two of which worked at Wilson’s Pleasure Railway in Kent (coaches Nos. 3025 and 3026 of 1939); the other one is No. 3474 of 1956 which worked on the Walton-on-the-Naze Pier Co’s railway. Additionally, the 1984-built diesel shunter No. 3782, RNAD A10, also arrived at Amerton in 2017. It would therefore be fair to say, that Amerton in Staffordshire now has a fair collection of Baguley of Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire products in its collection!


Three 'unusual' locos

Dreadnought leaves the shed on August 15th, 2004 to back up to its next train. Photo: Phil Barnes.


Three 'unusual' locos

The 4-ton loco Trentham Express is still deemed to be very original and once fully refurbished, will be repainted into Trentham Gardens Railway red and re-named Golspie. Photo: Phil Barnes.


Baguley pretender 1935 build

Baguley 1935-built Trentham Express seen on July 31st, 2016. Photo: Phil Barnes.


Ex-Butlins pretender

Ex-Butlins loco Baguley No. 3235 of 1947 when it arrived at Amerton on November 1st, 2017. Photo: Lawrence Hodgkinson.


one of the Pretenders with new tank

No. 3235 with its new tank on August 1st, 2018. Photo: Robin Mathams.

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