New home found for rare locomotive

The official handover to Southwold Railway Trust. Picture: Peter Edgeler
The official handover to Southwold Railway Trust. Picture: Peter Edgeler

Rare but rusting steam locomotive Scaldwell is to be restored to its former glory.

It has been a popular sight at Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre for 35 years but has never run there as it does not fit the 2ft narrow gauge line.

Leaving Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre. Picture: Peter Edgeler

Leaving Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre. Picture: Peter Edgeler

The locomotive was used in both world wars and as a genuine Bristol-built, 3ft gauge engine, it is a very rare beast but it has been sitting silently at the far end of the museum, starting to rust.

Southwold Railway Trust, which has a 3ft gauge line, was chosen to receive the remarkably-complete engine and Scaldwell began its journey to Suffolk on Monday.

James Hewitt, Southwold trust chairman, said: “We are extremely pleased that Amberley believes we’re the right place for Scaldwell and thankful to everyone involved. We will do our very best to get it in steam again as soon as we can.”

Scaldwell had been at Amberley since 1982, having been acquired as part of Brockham Museum’s collection but it could never run there.

Rachel Spiller, Amberley deputy director, said: “It’s fantastic that this loco now has the chance to be restored and used again.

“We’re pleased it’s going to a good home and we look forward to seeing the transformation take place.”

A lot of work will be needed to get the 1913 Peckett running but the move has been described as good news for everyone involved.

The trust, a heritage railway movement with a growing reputation, said Scaldwell was an important asset. Although it differs in design from Southwold’s own locomotives, it has its own history, working in the essential ironstone industry during the First World War.

As it has been in the open for some years, it has quite a bit of superficial rust and damage but the basics are good and Scaldwell is remarkably complete, with almost all its fittings intact. The locomotive even comes with a spare set of unused wheels and axles.

Volunteers will work in the restoration and grant aid will be sought to fund the work.