This coming October half term-week (28th October – 2nd November) our Hunslet locomotive ‘Dorothea’ will be hauling passenger trains on her own for the very first time.
Built in 1901 by the Hunslet Engine Company, Dorothea spent around 40 years working at the Dorothea slate quarry in North Wales. When she was taken out of use she was left in her shed, high up in the quarry, which later collapsed around her. During the 1960s many parts were removed from Dorothea for use on other Hunslet locomotives which were being restored by enthusiasts – including her wheels! What remained of Dorothea was rescued in 1970 by enthusiast Dave Walker, with Dorothea initially taken to his home in Shropshire.
Dorothea moved to Cornwall in the 1980s and was sold in 1989 to Kay Bowman, wife of LSR managing director Nigel. Kay set about restoring Dorothea to working order from an incomplete set of parts – a task considered impossible by many experts. Work on Dorothea progressed slowly with Kay, working in her limited spare time, determined to not only complete as much of the work as possible by herself, but also to use as much original material as possible. In November 2011 Dorothea was steamed as a complete locomotive for the first time in 70 years, just in time for her 110th birthday!
Although we have used Dorothea on a few days already this year as part of her running-in process, she has only ever double headed trains with one of our other Hunslet locomotives. However following the fitting of the equipment needed to work the air braking system on our carriages, Dorothea will be making her solo debut on passenger trains during the half-term week. Subject to no mechanical problems developing, Dorothea will haul all of the passenger trains during the week.
20th October – We have recently been sent this photograph of Dorothea, taken in 1968 by enthusiast Richard Freeman, which shows how poor a condition Dorothea was left in…