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Locomotives: a summer summary

The following update is reproduced from the R&ER Magazine number 218, September 2015.

River Irt

River Irt: has seen heavy use in traffic but lost a few days at the outset of the high summer service when necessary repairs to its steam pump overran. An electric compressor was sourced and fitted to put the loco back to work while attention to the pump continued in the new workshop.

River Esk

River Esk: is being worked on by Nigel Day; results will not be instant but things are now quietly progressing on its rebuild in-house.

River Mite

River Mite: has suffered considerably with a worn regulator valve and intermittent problems with the cylinder drains. Nevertheless the loco continues in service on a daily basis.

Northern Rock

Northern Rock: has not been dogged by the same irritations as the other two main locos, but was withdrawn from service after sudden failure of the bearing in the tender-axle air pump, whereupon it also received attention to the front truck. During the first week of high summer it suffered a crack in the top leaf of the left-hand-side driving wheel spring. After two successive repairs and two further breakages of the same spring, it was withdrawn during the second week. It re-entered service on 1st August.

Bonnie Dundee

Bonnie Dundee: has been on display in platform 2 at Ravenglass on virtually a daily basis. Parked up with all three remaining Maxi vehicles, it is very popular with passengers, who sometimes ask at what time it leaves for Dalegarth…


Synolda: has had its own air brake compressor fitted to the tender, modelled on,and using components from, the unit used on Hercules last season. This work was in anticipation of use in service during August bank holiday weekend, top ‘n’ tailing shuttles to Muncaster Mill with Count Louis, which has been resident in the paint shop this year.


Perkins: is still out of service, part-way through a monumental rebuild. The bodywork frame is indicative of a much altered and larger appearance, and it is rumoured that it will eventually be outshopped in orange.

Shelagh of Eskdale

Shelagh of Eskdale: is also still out of service. It has been said that ‘all’ it needs is a new engine and transmission, but talk abounds of a total rebuild when Perkins is finished.

Lady Wakefield

Lady Wakefield: seems to suffer from unusually high brake wear, but is in service frequently either on the scheduled diesel-hauled trains, permanent way work or to cover for absent steam engines as required. Problems with quickly-draining batteries appear to have been resolved nicely.


Cyril: has continued in the role of shunting loco in the yard and station at Ravenglass, but was failed in the second week of high summer after bolts sheared on the charge wheel for the brake system, causing the wheel to fall off. The locomotive did manage its annual foray around the line on the weedkilling train some weeks before.


Les: has seen small amounts of work shunting in the engineers’ new yard.

Douglas Ferreira

Douglas Ferreira: has shared the rostered diesel turns with Lady Wakefield and, with the exception of problems with the key interlocks in either cab earlier in the season, had been suitably reliable, until the breakage of an earth wire to the fuel pump saw it failed and subsequently sidelined for one morning on 30th July.


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