The Peckett

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The Peckett (Harrogate)
Statfold Barn Railway - oiling round (geograph 3908206).jpg
At home on the Statfold Barn Railway
Home Railway Statfold Barn Railway
Original Railway Harrogate Gas Works
Status In service
Built by Peckett & Sons
Built 1944
1957 Arrived on FR
1987 Sold
Wheel Arrangement 0-6-0ST

The Peckett is an 0-6-0 saddletank (built by Peckett & Sons, Bristol) that formerly worked at Harrogate Gas Works and was acquired by the Festiniog Railway in 1957 as a potential mainline loco. It was in need of a significant rebuild before it would be suitable. Eventually it was decided that the locomotive would not be suitable and it was sold in 1987. Whilst on the Festiniog Railway it was intended to name the locomotive Volunteer.

The Peckett has since been restored and is now named Harrogate. Harrogate is currently based at the Statfold Barn Railway, from where it has visited both the Ffestinog Railway and the Welsh Highland Railway.



The locomotive had some unusual features. The firebox is said to have been designed to burn coke which would be readily available as a byproduct in a gas works. At Harrogate it only had short intermittent trips to make through the tunnel to deliver coal so steam demand from the boiler would have been low. The front third of the saddle tank is a dummy to improve its visual appearance and does not store water.

On the FR[edit]

The Peckett was purchased by the Festiniog Railway in 1957. The logic for its purchase was given in FR Magazine No. 2, written in August 1958.

"The Peckett was offered to the FR when the 1958 timetable was being planned and when it was deemed prudent to have stand-by power equal to that of a double Fairlie. It was purchased at extremely low capital cost although it was realised that the Peckett, named Volunteer, had certain limitations in its then existing state. Thankfully with the 1958 season over it had not proved necessary to press Volunteer into service. The long term considerations underlying the purchase were: a spare of adequate capacity would still be necessary when the desired aim of having two Fairlie's serviceable was achieved to cover repairs, washouts and emergencies, and a new Fairlie would cost at least £8,000 in the current decade. The Peckett 0-6-0ST was one of a series also built as 2-6-0 and 2-6-2 tender engines, having the same cylinders, frames, driving wheels and boiler, and these have worked on hauls up to 45 miles at speeds in the region of 25 mph."

The actual price paid for the Peckett including transport to the FR was £585.50 paid in six monthly instalments of £100 over the next thirty months.[1] The damage to the cab back (see picture below) was caused in craning at the Harrogate end, according to Paul Dukes.[2] According to FRSL Newsletter No. 12 in 1958 "The Peckett is raised on packing whilst the wheels are in Bristol works for flange and tyre reprofiling as Boston Lodge wheel lathe at present stripped for overhaul." Bristol works is likely a reference to Peckett & Sons. In late 1958 serious work started to rebuild Merddin Emrys and The Peckett slid down the list of priorities.

In 1968 it was optimistically stated that work on The Peckett was scheduled to follow the Garratt (K1).[3] In 1971 during its long sojourn in Glan y Mor yard it was reported that the loco had been moved one third of a wheel revolution to reduce tyre corrosion.

In 1980 it was taken into the workshops for (ultimately abortive) investigation into possible steaming and the boiler was tested to a pressure of 300 lbs. It was not until 1987 that the key tests took place. Clive Briscoe wrote of the 1987 tests:

"I spent a lot of time during a 2 week stay in Boston Lodge fettling the axleboxes when it was finally dragged out of Glan y Mor to test it out on the FR. The boiler had been given a hydraulic test and passed but after it was towed up the line, its rigid 6 wheel wheelbase was too much for some of our curves."[4]

Paul Martin reported:.

"When it was dragged up the railway as a chassis it went round Tyler's without problems but it was chaired track and it probably moved the track to suit it. When we got to Dduallt and on to the new alignment we all relaxed and it promptly fell off. We put it back on and tried again and it fell off again. The loop points were still in and they were in some really heavy rail with no give in it. Gave up and went home at that point."[5]

After these tests, it was finally concluded that the loco would not be suitable and in 1987 it was sold to the Bredgar & Wormshill Light Railway.

The loco's official name was to be Volunteer, but it was never formally named and had no name plates.

Recent years[edit]

It was eventually restored to running order on the The Bredgar & Wormshill Light Railway where it was named Harrogate. However it proved unsuitable for their line and was sold. Its home is now the privately owned Statfold Barn Railway, near Tamworth. It can also often be seen at the South Tynedale Railway.

In April 2012 the locomotive returned to FR metals, in order to take part in the Blaenau 30 celebrations. It travelled along most of the FR. It was delivered to Minffordd, taken to Boston Lodge, and steamed up to Blaenau for the "gauging trials" prior to the Blaenau to Tanygrisiau shuttles. Of course FR metals had changed by 2012 and one round trip is a different matter from regular use.[6] It appeared at the WHR Gala in September 2013.

Principal Stated Dimensions[edit]

Principal dimensions
Cylinders 9.5 x 14"
Driving wheels 2' 3.5"
Boiler pressure 200psi
Tractive effort 7,810lb


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Johnson, Peter (2004). Immortal Rails (Vol 1) The Story of the Closure and Revival of the FR 1939-1983. Chester, England, CH4 9ZH: RailRomances. ISBN 1-900622-08-4. OCLC 56654167.  , pp 90, 101
  2. ^ Harris R (2017) Facebook post in Narrow Gauge Enthusiasts Group on 9/5/2017.
  3. ^ Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 43
  4. ^ Briscoe C (2016) Facebook post in Narrow Gauge Enthusiasts Group on 11/4/2016.
  5. ^ Martin P (2017) Facebook post in Narrow Gauge Enthusiasts Group on 9/5/2017.
  6. ^ Jones H (2017) Facebook post in Narrow Gauge Enthusiasts Group on 9/5/2017.