At the Cambrian Crossing in the 1930s
|Built by||Baldwin Locomotive Works|
|1923||Acquired for WHR|
The Baldwin 590 was a 4-6-0 locomotive built for use by the War department LIght Railways during the First World War. After the war it was acquired for use on the Welsh Highland Railway. It was scrapped after the WHR was closed, but some components survive at the WHHR.
Another locomotive of the same class is being restored by the WHHR to represent this locomotive.
590 was a 4-6-0T locomotive of the Baldwin class 10-12-D (Builder's number 45172 of 1917). It was completed on 1st March 1917, and was part of a batch of locomotives (works numbers 45133 to 45236) ordered by the War Department from the Baldwin Locomotive Works in the USA, for use behind the Western Front. The War Department Light Railway locomotives were different from the original 10-12-D locomotives as they had half instead of full cabs.
The War Department gave this batch of locomotives the WD numbers 1001 to 1104. However, at some time during 1917, WD locomotives 1005 to 1150 were renumbered 546 to 700; thus 590 received the number by which it subsequently became known.
To the WHR
Following wartime service, the locomotive was overhauled by Bagnalls of Stafford in 1919. It was bought for use on the Welsh Highland Railway by Colonel Holman F. Stephens for the sum of £240 from the Government. It arrived at Dinas Junction on 4th July 1923. Due to its size, it was restricted to use on the Welsh Highland Railway, never seeing service on the Festiniog Railway.
590 was reputedly a rough riding locomotive, and was later confined to freight traffic as this was slower. Its ride may well have been linked to reverse running without a pony truck under the cab (Russell's 2-6-2 configuration being ideal for bi-directional running). Prior to 1934, it faced Porthmadog and carried a black livery. Then it was turned and repainted in red.
Withdrawal and modern era
In 1942, Cohen's, the contractor commissioned to scrap the WHR permanent way, attempted to steam 590. However, the locomotive was in very bad condition, leaking steam badly, and was consequently cut up for scrap.
The surviving tank was used for oil storage in a contractor's yard and is now on display at the WHHR. The only other surviving part of 590 is a builder's plate which is on display at the National Railway Museum, York.
There are few examples of this type of locomotive still at work in India. There are also two in Britain: Baldwin 778 has been restored to operation and is currently on the Leighton Buzzard Narrow Gauge Railway as seen in the pictures below. Baldwin 794 has recently been loaned to the WHR by the Imperial War Museum and is currently being restored to represent 590.
- The 590 Page on the WHHR Site.