Here we celebrate what some may initially have considered an insignificant and unglamarous small black tank locomotive. The fact that this locomotive is now a rare working example of Victorian engineering, one that survived the scrapyard twice, 20 years apart, and was the pioneer of public supported locomotive preservation, might make one reconcider that first impression.
LNWR No.1054 was purchased in 1960 by the Webb Coal Tank Engine Preservation Fund, led by former railwayman J.M. Dunn. Returned to working order in 1980, it had two operational periods before its third and most comprehensive overhaul was completed in 2011. All three overhauls were undertaken by volunteer members of the Bahamas Locomotive Society, the most recent of which was at their Ingrow premises on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway and was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The society (see www.bahamas45596.co.uk) has been custodians of the engine since 1972.
This programme tells the story of 1054, dipping into the past and highlighting the engine's later forays around the country when some of the former identities were recreated.
You will see and hear the Coal Tank as LMS No. 7799 and BR No. 58926, in addition to its original LNWR No. 1054 guise. You will also witness the opportunity
taken to pair it with the LNWR 0-8-0 "Super D" when these two engines re-enacted the last passenger train to operate between Abergavenny and Merthyr in 1958. This "last train" initiated the idea to save the Coal Tank for posterity, the subsequent success of which became a precursor to today's heritage railway scene.
No. 1054 was one of 300 "4ft .3in. Side Tank Coal Engines" built at Crewe from 1881 onwards. They were a cheap, reliable and effective self-contained, go anywhere, do anything form of motive power and served numerous communities for up to 70 years or so, becoming a familiar sight to many.
Unglamorous it may have been, but 1054 now represents something of the "unsung hero" amidst the familiarity of the everyday.
Also included with the DVD is a further, free DVD, made up of interviews with some of those who came into contact with these charming locomotives in the past along others that have had an association with No. 1054 itself.