Tash Tales with Alf Ridyard

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Engine number 752 was a tank engine built in 1881 at the Manchester (Gorton) works of Beyer Peacock.

It started work on the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, the company then rebuilt it in 1896 to its present saddle tank design.

In 1923 the engine morphed into 11456 when it became part of the LMS region regrouping but still continued to work around the Wigan L&Y system until 1937 when it was sold to the Welsh Whittle Colliery near Wigan.

The engine then became the property of the NCB when the mines were nationalised in 1947, its journey continued around the pits of Wigan, Chisnall Hall and the Standish pits being prominent.

As these pits were closing the engine was once again transferred, varying dates are given for this transfer. This time it came to Leigh and the Parsonage Colliery, where it saw out its industrial life until the early 1960s, it was then left neglected in an unused corner of the pit yard. Many older people will remember the engine trundling around the pit yard and also in its early years at Parsonage clanking across West Leigh Lane with a rake of coal filled wagons and crawling round the edge of the council estate.

It would be on its way to the British Rail sidings at Howe Bridge (these were situated close to where the Crematorium now stands).

The engine received a stay of execution, so to speak, when it was rescued by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Saddle tank trust and was towed unceremoniously by rail, crossing Kirkhall Lane for the last time to the Howe Bridge sidings for the onward journey to the firm of Yates Duxbury at Heap Bridge in 1968.

Here it was renovated and returned to work on the Keighley and Worth Valley railway, this time not towing coal trucks but tourists who visit area, particularly the Bronte’s home at Haworth.

During its time here it was part of the 150th anniversary in 1980 of the Rainhill locomotive trials. The engine ceased to work needing major repairs in 1984, 103 years after it made its debut.

In July of this year it was once again undergoing renovation at the Bury works of the East Lancashire Railway and will return to service in the coming months.