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Locomotives and Rolling Stock

Because the railway lost money for the whole of its life, the Ebbw Vale Company, who had leased the line with responsibility for all repairs and maintenance, never spent money on the line if they could avoid it.  As a result the rolling stock was ill maintained and there were frequent breakdowns.  

 

While the line was under construction in 1857, two Neilson locomotives were bought new from a Glasgow engine builder.  They were delivered to Taunton and then brought by road to Washford where they were put on the rails.  In that summer the two locomotives collided head-on near Kentsford crossing on this trail, three people were killed, and one locomotive had to be scrapped and a replacement ordered, at a cost then of £1000, the equivalent of about £50,000 today. 

 

Locomotives needing major overhaul were returned to Ebbw Vale for the purpose, and a temporary replacement sent over from Ebbw Vale.  While the mines were working there were two locomotives on the upper section and two on the lower, one working passenger trains, and the other goods trains.  The line had more than fifty small goods wagons each carrying about 6 tons of ore and at least one covered wagon for carrying gunpowder to the mines. 

 

After the mines closed in 1883, the line possessed one locomotive on the upper section and one on the lower, and three decrepit coaches, which were second-hand when they came to the line in 1865.  When one of the locomotives needed heavy repairs it was returned to Ebbw Vale and a temporary replacement sent over. 

 

When the line closed for the first time in 1898, all the locomotives and rolling stock were returned to South Wales and put up for sale.  Most of them were sold for scrap.

 

 

Locomotives 1856-98

(excluding short term replacements)

 

Neilson (the ‘Box’) 0-4-0 OC saddle tank

Neilson & Company, Hyde Park Foundry, Glasgow. Works nos. 370 of 1856 & 391 of 1856

 

Working weight: 13 tons

Boiler pressure: 60 lbs/sq. inch

Outside cylinders: 12” x 18”

 

Ordered in October 1856 from Neilson & Company, Hyde Park Foundry, Glasgow, works no. 370 was delivered in November.  It was damaged in January 1857, returned to the makers for repair, and a replacement, works no. 391, was ordered. 

 

The second locomotive was delivered a month or two later, and shortly afterwards, works no. 370, was returned from Glasgow. 

 

Both locomotives were damaged in the collision in August 1857, and works no. 391 was sent to Ebbw Vale for repair.  Later works no. 370 was repaired locally for use in constructing phase 2 of the line, and both locomotives stayed, except for major repairs at Ebbw Vale, until 1883, when works no. 391 was returned to Ebbw Vale and works no. 370 remained until the line closed in November 1898.

 

[ Zoom ]
Pontypool at Whitehall shed in 1893
Pontypool at Whitehall shed in 1893
[ Zoom ]
A Neilson locomotive at the top of the incline in 1889
A Neilson locomotive at the top of the incline in 1889

 

Pontypool 0-6-0 IC saddle tank 

Sharp, Stewart & Company, Atlas Works, Manchester    Works no.  1677 0f 1866

 

Working weight: about 36 tons

Inside cylinders: 17” x 24”

Boiler pressure: 120 lbs/sq. inch

Heating surface: 1198 sq feet

Grate area: 11.88 sq feet

Tubes: 148 brass: 14’3½” x 2”

Tank capacity: 950 gallons

Wheel diameter: 4’6”

Wheelbase: 12’3”

Length of loco over buffers: 29’0”

Height from rail level to the top of the stack: 12’6” 

 

 

One of three locomotives of order no. E 515, identical to six ordered for the Brecon & Merthyr Railway under order no. E 492. 

Transferred to Ebbw Vale on 8 January 1899, and auctioned by C D Phillips Jnr. on 12 May 1904.  Details of disposal unknown.

 

Rowcliffe 0-6-0 OC saddle tank

Sharp, Stewart & Company, Atlas Works, Manchester. Works no.  995 of 1857

 

Working weight: not known

Inside cylinders: 16’”x 24”

Boiler pressure: 120 lbs/sq. inch

Heating surface: 824 sq. feet

Grate area: 10.80 sq feet

Tubes: 141 brass: 9’10½” x 2”

Tank capacity: 500 gallons

Wheel diameter: 4’6”

Wheelbase: 13 feet

Length of loco over buffers: 28’0”

 

Order no. E324.  New to Ebbw Vale in 1857 and transferred to the WSMR in August 1857.  Returned to Ebbw Vale in 1883, and rebuilt there in 1896.  Tendered for disposal on 4 July 1903 and auctioned by C D Phillips Jnr. on 12 May 1904.  Details of disposal unknown. 

[ Zoom ]
The locomotive Rowcliffe and two coaches at Comberow, probably in 1865 or 1866
The locomotive Rowcliffe and two coaches at Comberow, probably in 1865 or 1866
NEILSON O - 4 - O Locomotive
NEILSON O - 4 - O Locomotive
Go to Newport,  temporary replacement locomotive
Newport, temporary replacement locomotive for Neilsons
Go to Whitfield locomotive
Whitfield locomotive in 1948. It replaced the Pontypool for three months in 1895