Monday, October 15, 2012

Curious Case of Number 22

What follows is another example of how tracking down the history of a single photograph leads to a very interesting backstory! With spin offs!  I recently came upon this curiosity, which posed the question. How did an English locomotive end up in North Vancouver British Columbia?

In trying to learn more about this curious locomotive, I was momentarily thrown off the trail by falsely assuming the builder must have been Samuel Williams & Sons. You can clearly read the plate prominently affixed to the front of the machine room.

But soon I came to learn that Samuel Williams & Sons Limited was a very famous freight aggregator and forwarder, located in Dagenham, just east of London on the River Thames.

Dagenham has an interesting history reaching back to the 1200's. That's not a typo - the 1200's! Dagenham was formed on the marshes of the River Thames.

There were many aborted attempts to develop the land. Finally, in 1887, Samuel Williams bought the land. Over many years, Mr. Williams his successors enlarged their business at Dagenham and extended it to include civil engineering, bargebuilding, ship owning, fuel trading, and other activities.

Their development attracted Ford Motor Company. An assembly plant was built, complete with an adjacent  engine manufacturing plant. Ford shut down the auto assembly line in Dagenham in 2002. But reinvested and expanded its engine manufacturing capacity.

•  October, 2011, Ford celebrated its 80th anniversary in Dagenham.
•  July 10, 2012, turned out its 40 millionth engine since 1931

Samuel Williams & Son's wasn't so fortunate. Faced with massive infrastructure improvement to be competitive with intermodal transport systems, the Company was shuttered in 1985.

Vancouver Wharves Limited  (Now Kinder Morgan Vancouver Wharves) in May 1960 acquired both Number 22, and her sister Number 21, from Samuel Williams & Sons Limited, who operated them at the Dagenham Docks. Here is a photo of Number 22 working (shunting) at Dagenham Dock in April 1957.

She was built by Hudswell, Clark & Co Ltd located in Leeds, England. An interesting company that manufactured steam and diesel locomotives, as well as atom bombs and Hurricane Lanterns!

The airframe for the first British nuclear bomb, Blue Danube was manufactured by Hudswell Clarke at its Roundhay Road, Leeds, plant.

It is noteworthy that in 1929 Hudswell, Clarke & Co. Ltd. was the first company in the world to fit a fluid coupling to a Diesel Locomotive and in 1931 they built a Hydraulic Converter Locomotive.

Here is another Hudswell, serial number D558 built in 1933, with an unusual drive train. Note the socket for the hand-crank, used to start the motor!  See "Comment" at the end of this post for information about the restoration of this locomotive.

Since the United Kingdom shares the same rail gauge, 1,435 mm (4'8½") there was no problem with fitting the locomotive to the Stephenson gauge. However, careful examination discloses the English Buffers are removed; yet no AAR Type E coupler is affixed.  Notice the connecting rods (links between wheels) were probably removed for transport.

Walter E. Frost shot the lead photo of #22 on September 5, 1960 in North Vancouver B.C. Apparently newly arrived at Vancouver. Her English Buffers removed, but no coupler has yet to be installed.

But the curiosity remains, why would Vancouver Wharves purchase these locomotives from England?

Turns out yet another Hudswell, Clarke & Co Ltd locomotive was imported from England. It is a 36" gauge Hudswell Clarke mining locomotive built 1948. Serial number DM 642, is on display, complete with mining cars, at Fernie, British Columbia.

The 100 hp Gardner diesel was built in Leeds, England for the International Coal and Coke Company operation at Coleman  Alberta. It was the first locomotive to be employed underground in Canada. In this article, one of the operators explains about his days operating this locomotive in the mines at Michel.

When the International Mine was closed in 1954 the engine was transferred to the Cheakamus Power Tunnel Project at Garibaldi, BC, where it worked until recalled to the Coleman Alberta area in 1959. The Fernie Chamber of Commerce acquired it after it was retired in 1975.

I knew the Canadian Pacific Railroad ran a line through Fernie, but during my research for this article, I was surprised to learn the the Great Northern Railroad also had a line running north from Rexford Montana up to Michel British Columbia. GN ran the 82.6 mile connection to the coal fields under the name of Crows Nest Southern Railway.

In  August 1908, most of Fernie was consumed by fire. Both the Canadian Pacific and Great Northern assembled trains to move resident out of the fire zone.  Here is a harrowing account of the perils faced by the GN to evacuate residents from the fire.

Railroad Stuff:  0-6-0 (Whyte Notation) Diesel-Hydraulic Number 22, built by Hudswell, Clarke & Co Ltd in 1949, builder number D 702. 300 horsepower Gardner, weight 30 tons.

One of two identical units acquired. 1 (21) scrapped 1/73 for parts. 2 (22) sold 9/74.

Hudswell, Clark &Co Ltd mining locomotive at Fernie:  Unnumbered. Built for International Coke & Coal (IC&C) March 1952. Serial number DM 642. 36" (914.4 mm) gauge. IC&C merged with McGillivery Creek Coal & Coke, forming Coleman Collieries in 1952.

Hudswell, Clark & Co Ltd was also noted builder of steam locomotives.

Several 0-6-0T (tank) engines are operational at theme parks at Edaville USA, located at Carver Massachusetts, Conway Scenic Railroad, Strasburg and others, running the 0-6-0Tank engines as a "Thomas the Tank Engine" attraction for the kiddies.

Photo Credits:
•  Jay Tilston; Cadeby Light Railway. See many more "unusual" locomotives on Jay's Flickr Site.
•  Mick Fly
•  Vancouver Digital Archives

4 Comments - Click here: said...

Whew! what a thrilling story about the Fernie fire- men WERE men! The history of BC is indeed exciting in a country so rugged and still untamed. Glad you included that part of the history of the railroad in that area. Railroading was indeed filled with heroes.

Ptc said...

This is your awesome post !

LinesWest said...

Robert, great as always. Thanks for putting the obvious time into putting a great article together.


Simon Lomax said...

Nice post. I am part of the team restoring the crimson Hudswell diesel loco in the UK illustrated halfway down. It was the first HC diesel built for the UK, and only the second one ever. The links between the wheels do not transmit power. Power is transmitted by chains. The links are to allow the chains to be adjusted by moving the wheelsets slightly apart. Also, the Power Take Off you refer to is actually the hand starting gear. It used to take three people to hand start this loco. We have now fitted a starter motor, as we're all getting a bit old for that nonsense. The loco is part of the Moseley Railway Trust collection - keep an eye on the news pages of our website, or our Facebook page - where there are regular updates on our progress with the restoration.

Post a Comment

"Comment" is for sharing information related to this article. "Anonymous" comments are not published.