Sir William McAlpine (FKA The Ruston)

Lawrie’s locomotive is a Ruston 48DS Number 294266, built in 1951 for the James Cropper Papermill on the Burnside Tramway. She weighs just 7.5 tonnes, and has as the name suggests, 48 Horsepower.

It worked the Tramway until it closed down in 1974, where it moved to Steamtown at Carnforth and for a time it was used as the shed shunter, rubbing buffers with locomotives like Pendennis Castle, Sir Nigel Gresley, and the infamous Flying Scotsman. After an incident where it proved to be rather inefficient at stopping a hundred tonne locomotive it was sidelined, and forgotten about. When Sir William McAlpine left Steamtown in the 90’s he took the little locomotive with him, and it arrived on his private railway at Fawley hill, where it received a full overhaul. It would appear that it was not powerful enough to be of any use on the famously steep line, and didn’t really do anything.

Lawrie had been looking to purchase such a locomotive for many years, and began a project to try and list all the surviving members of the class, as the only such document was some 15 years out of date. The result was the offer to buy 294266.

After a successful inspection the locomotive was moved to the Mid-Suffolk Light Railway, where it received a service, recommissioning works, and a full repaint back to works condition. It had it’s starter motor rewound, but has given sterling service since, being used as the Permanent Way locomotive at the MSLR.

More recently the locomotive had the honour of re opening the Leiston Works Railway, and being the first Diesel to ever transverse the line.

Current Status – Out of Traffic, awaiting wheel set work.

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