scotland (4K)
The Friends of the Far North Line
Cairdean Na Loine Tuath
the campaign group for rail north of Inverness - lobbying for improved services for the local user, tourist and freight operator

"Dunrobin" Emigrates

I am indebted to FoFNL member Chris Wright for drawing my attention to the following articles that appeared in "Railway Magazine" circa 1964/65. Our thanks to Railway Magazine for their permission to publish the articles.

Royal Train For Sale

AFTER several years at the Romney engine shed of the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway, the Duke of Sutherland's 0-4-4 side-tank locomotive, Dunrobin, and small four-wheel saloon are now for sale for the modest price of £1,000. King Edward VII and King George V were among the many distinguished passengers who travelled in the coach on the Duke's private railway (between Golspie and Dunrobin Castle) and over the Highland Railway between Inverness and Dunrobin. The locomotive (the second to bear the name) was designed by David Jones, of the H.R., and built by Sharp, Stewart & Co. Ltd., in 1895--maker's order No. E1056 and works No. 4085. The inside cylinders were 13 in. x 18 in., coupled wheels 4 ft. 6 in. diameter and bogie wheels 2 ft. 6 in. diameter. The small 25 ft.-long saloon is divided into a saloon (14 ft. 3 in.) and brake van (10 ft.). The front weatherboard of the engine's cab carries the autographs of Royal and other illustrious travellers. Both engine and coach are in working order and the R.H.D.R. hopes that they will be purchased by a preservation society. A full description, together with illustrations, of the Duke of Sutherland's saloons and locomotives is to be found in the January 1950 issue, pp. 9-10 and 18-19, of The Railway Magazine.

Two historic railway relics leave for Canada

SINCE 1949 the Duke of Sutherland's private train, comprising the 0-4-4 locomotive Dunrobin, built by Sharp, Stewart & Co. Ltd. in 1895 at its Atlas Works, Glasgow, and the four-wheeled private saloon coach No. 58A, built at the Lochgorm Works of the Highland Railway in 1909, has been in store in a somewhat derelict shed at the end of the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway siding at New Romney in Kent. Occasionally it made an appearance during the summer months for the delight of travellers on the railway and other enthusiasts.

Following the recent purchase of the train by a Canadian businessman the problem arose of the removal of the engine and coach from New Romney to the London docks on the first stage of the journey to Canada. It was decided to transport both on low-loader road vehicles but, in order to do this, the train had to be moved from the R.H.D.R. siding - actually an extension of the Southern Region branch line from Appledore, Kent, to New Romney and situated to the north of, but parallel with, the R.H.D.R. platforms - and placed in the former goods yard at the Southern Region station.

A locomotive was required to move the train and the sidings and goods yard were suffering from some years of neglect. The crossing gates protecting the main Littlestone Road (which the siding traverses) and the scotch blocks on the S.R. side of the road had not been used since early in 1964 and the ground frame, released by the "no signalman" electric key token, was no longer connected to the goods yard points, which had been clipped and padlocked out of use.

While various plans and permissions were being obtained much time was spent by R.H.D.R. employees in preparing the train before its inspection by B.R. examiners from Ashford who had to declare it fit to run on B.R. metals, as the movement involved hauling through the station and on to the passenger single line before being propelled into the goods yard.

Certain maintenance work was carried out on the sidings, including the removal of various obstructions and the clearing out of the gap between the running rails and check rails over the level crossing. Permanent-way engineers and a signal and telecommunications technician also agreed to be on hand for releasing and working the points and scotch blocks.

The diesel locomotive, D6569, a type "3" Bo-Bo after working the 10.02 Ashford to Lydd Town freight train, ran light to New Romney where it arrived at 12.22 on Thursday, March 11, a sunny and cloudless day.

The R.H.D.R. men having moved the train out of the shed, the scotch blocks were lifted, the crossing gates opened and D6569 moved into the siding to couple up the train. When all was ready the formation moved slowly up the gradient and came to a halt on the Southern Region side, where the diesel was detached to permit photographers to record the museum pieces. The diesel then picked up its load and moved through the station on to the single line. Points were then released, barred and secured and the train proceeded into the goods yard.

After placing its load the diesel returned to the single line and to Lydd Town for the return working of the 13.20 freight train, while the points, scotch blocks and facing point lock were returned to their usual fixed, clipped and padlocked slate. The two low-loaders arrived during the afternoon and the following morning one was backed up to the required position at the end of the siding, jacked up, and the rear wheels removed. A ramp of rails was then placed in position, a wire rope was attached to Dunrobin, and the 70-year-old engine was gently winched up, bunker first. The only snag encountered was the fouling of the front guard irons on the rails, because of the inclination, and these were duly removed. Once the engine was loaded the rear wheels of the low loader were replaced and the jacks removed. The second vehicle then repeated the operation with the saloon.

At about midday, Dunrobin and the saloon left New Romney on their somewhat ignominious journey to the docks and the next stage of the journey to their new home in Canada.

The following details of Dunrobin may be of interest to locomotive enthusiasts. The order was placed with Sharp, Stewart on February 6, 1895, under order No. E1056, works No. 4085. Heating surface provided by the tubes was 517 sq. ft., the firebox providing an additional 58 sq. ft. and a grate area of 11 sq. ft. Coupled wheels were 4 ft. 6 in. in diameter and the bogie wheels 2 ft. 6 in. The two inside cylinders were 13 in. x 18 in. and the working boiler pressure 150 Ib. per sq. in. The total weight of the engine was 25 tons 5 cwt. 2 qr., of which the coupled wheels carried 16 tons 2 cwt. 2 qr. and the bogie 9 tons 3 cwt.