New for 2016 - The Peckett & Sons W4 0-4-0ST
Hello and welcome to The Engine Shed, your peek inside the Hornby Development department - written by us, the designers for you, the collectors.
Well the cat, as they say, is well and truly out of the bag! You may have seen yesterday, we were really excited to show you the progress on our 58’ Maunsell Rebuilt (ex-LSWR 48’) Coaches that we announced back in June, so we shot a quick video and got it out onto all our social media channels as quickly as we could. Well, the eagled-eyed amongst you might have spotted a tiny loco lurking in the background of our test layout and we are pleased to announce that that loco is of course the Peckett & Sons W4 Class 0-4-0.
The Peckett W Class comprised of 6 separate variations, from the W2 of 1884 to the W7 of 1938 and were of a standard design that represented more of an update, over the years, rather than a development of the class. The W4 design represents a classic late Victorian four-coupled, medium range, industrial saddle tank design.
Peckett 832/1900 as Locomotive D at Huntley & Palmers’ works in Reading. The Peckett locomotives were identified ex-works by their Works Number, followed by the year of manufacture.
The locomotives were built at the Atlas Engine Works in St. George, Bristol, Peckett & Sons Ltd having taken over the business established there by Fox, Walker & Company in 1880. Their steam locos, noted for their fine rivet work on the cabs and tanks and the generous use of brass and copperwork, continued to be built at Atlas Works until June 12, 1958. Eventually, Peckett & Sons were bought out by Reed Crane & Hoist Company during 1961, having produced 140 W4 locomotives between April 1885 and February 1906.
Peckett themselves described their core market as “Collieries, Ironworks, Contractors, Tinplate Works etc.” and took pride in turning their locos out in a lined Works grey livery. Utilising many standard components, the nature of the locos’ end use meant there were a number of ‘specials’ and alterations carried out, particularly reduced height versions for operating in smelting works and collieries.
Left: 654/1897 was the first loco to be purchased from new by the Manchester Ship Canal and named Alexandria. After WW1, naming was abandoned and the locomotive became No.11. Sold to Esso Petroleum in August 1954, the little locomotive retained its number.
Right: Locomotive 614/1896 is the oldest surviving Peckett locomotive in this country. Delivered new in 1896 to James Dunlop and Co. Ltd at their Clyde Ironworks at Rutherglen, Lanarkshire, where it was soon named as No.2 Bear.
As industrial sites closed, or engineering projects finished, the locos were sold on, so over the course of their working lives they may well have worked for three or four different owners, those involved with smelting or ironworks invariably being cut up and disposed of onsite.
By the last days of industrial steam (and often before), many of the Pecketts were way past their cosmetic best. Not only were they grimy and unkempt, but running repairs (especially after the demise of Peckett & Sons from 1961) were undertaken locally and without regard to established patterns and drawings.
Three W4 locos still exist in preservation, 614/1896 Bear, a static exhibit at the Sittingbourne & Kemsley Railway and the oldest Peckett locomotive left in existence, 737/1899 Daphne, static at Ribble Steam Railway and 933/1903 Henry Cort, also static, at Foxfield Railway.
On March 21st 1971, Bear left Scotland, its home for 75 years, for the 475 mile journey to Kent on a low loader. The route was via Glasgow, Beattock, Carlisle, M6, M45, M1, Hatfield, Enfield, Dartford Tunnel and the M2 and on March 24th the locomotive was unloaded onto a short length of track at Kemsley Down.
Originally part of our 2017 new release plans, it was decided to bring forward the plans for a 0-4-0 outside cylinder industrial locomotive in response to the growing popularity of the type amongst modellers and enthusiasts. The availability of good quality plans, a nearby preserved example at the Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway, the help of the Industrial Railway Society, the locomotive’s development history and the wide geographic spread of the type in service were the deciding factors behind choosing to model the Peckett W4, and so visits to the National Railway Museum and the S&KLR took place during April and May 2015.
Members of the Industrial Railway Society did a fantastic service to rail historians when they rescued the Works photographs from Peckett’s premises in February 1962, the collection eventually finding its way to the NRM where, in conjunction with the plans held, they form an extensive collection. There is a downside to this type of rescue though, as the collection is a sterile resource. There is plenty of ‘how’ and a degree of ‘when’, but no ‘why’. This has a particular bearing on locomotive development, we can make assumptions as to why certain changes were made (such as the different cabs), but there are no definitive answers.
It soon became apparent that the ‘standard’ design was anything but, with both subtle and major dimension changes in many components being found and our visit to Kemsley, to view the S&KLR’s ‘Bear’, showed that a huge degree of unrecorded changes took place during the life of the locomotive. This degree of ‘make do and mend’ was exhibited in the large collection of photographs we managed to accrue, many showing the difference between ex-works condition and ‘in service’ condition, all of which presented a challenge to incorporating the changes into the tooling. The re-touching of works' photographs by Pecketts also threw up some oddities, with some locos being portrayed as completely different ones in the works’ literature – and we think Photoshop was the start of image manipulation!
A letter, written to the National Coal Board in February 1951, highlights the ongoing modifications that took place in the latter years of service – a situation repeated at industrial sites across the country.
Referral to Peckett’s order book gave us the information of the original customer, but the locomotives invariably changed hands several times during their working lives. Some of these sources have themselves been the subject of written histories, such as Skinningrove Colliery and Huntley & Palmers’ factory, which have yielded clues as to an engine’s fate and after breaking down the locomotives into styles and groups, we eventually arrived at a set of engine designs that could be tooled up, but this is far from the end of the story…
We are still at the early stages of the Peckett’s development, below you can see the CAD drawings and early Stereo Samples, but we will have more to show you very soon!
Have your say in the choice of livery
Given the extensive working life of these locos, they were often passed between different owners, resulting in many different liveries. We have a number of potential liveries to choose from, but with many photographs being in monochrome, or else featuring the locomotives in a state of deep grime, we would love to hear from our knowledgeable collectors about which liveries we could develop to give some variety in future years.
This is your opportunity to have a real say in how one of our future releases will look, so do you have reliable, colour images of the Peckett W4 in the livery you’d like to see on your layout? Let us know on our dedicated Forum thread and add your contribution to the development of this new loco - your suggested livery may well go into production and we’d acknowledge any help given.
The Peckett 0-4-0ST is due for release in late 2016, and we will of course keep you up-to-date with its development here.
Well that about wraps it up for this week, we hope you’re excited about our 2016 announcement! As always, let us know your thoughts on Facebook and Twitter with #HornbyEngineShed and over on our Official Forums.
Until next time, happy modelling!
The Engine Shed Team
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