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On 23 November 2005 the Museum took delivery of it's latest acquisition, Hunslet diesel hydraulic locomotive No.8969/1980. It was previously used at the Royal Ordnance Factory at Bishopton, Renfrewshire and became available on closure of the narrow gauge railway system there.
Built in 1980, the loco was originally to 2' 6" gauge so before delivery to the Museum, the wheels were taken to Alan Keef's of Ross on Wye for regauging and reprofiling. It weighs in at 4.5 tons.
It arrived on the back of a Hiab lorry hired from TransRam of Lancing.
The lifting chains were soon attached ......
...... and 8969 was on the way up ......
...... and down again ......
...... settling on Amberley rails for the first time ......
...... before being spirited away into Betchworth Hall. The similarities of the footplate and chassis frame of 8969 and the older Hudson Hunslet are evident in this picture. Now the real work must begin to make it fit for service at Amberley which will enable us to give our Motor Rail MR11001 and our two Hudson Hunslets a well earned rest.
Thanks are due to David Jones of the Moseley Trust for facilitating the original purchase and transport of the loco and wheelsets to their various destinations and to Andy and Jonathon Clegg at the Chasewater Railway, Staffordshire, for not only looking after it for us on its protracted journey south but also for refitting the wheelsets so that once it had been offloaded safely onto Amberley tracks, also to Garry Morgan of TransRam - I think he's getting used to us by now!
AND MORE RAIL TOO
We also took delivery on the same day of a stack of panels of lighter weight track (around 20-25lb/yd) for our industrial lines. Purchase was a joint project between ourselves and the nearby Twyford Waterworks Trust near Winchester. Thanks to Graham Feldwick for doing all the donkey work - negotiating with the Midland Railway Trust from whom we made the purchase, and for arranging the transport.
Panels of this new (to us) track have already been used to relay the rather light and alarmingly mobile trackwork in the tunnel and the rest will provide us with much needed additional sidings and further renewal of worn out sections.