Royal Arsenal Railway

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The Royal Arsenal Railway was a private military railway. It ran inside the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, southeast London.

The earliest parts of this railway system proper were constructed to standard gauge from 1859 onwards as a to replace an ad hoc arrangement of individual plateways.[1][2] Laying of plateways had started in 1824 and was completed by 1854-5; they then came under the control of the Corps of Royal Engineers.[2] From 1871 onwards some of the track was constructed as 18 in (457 mm) gauge and it comprised some 50 to 60 miles (80 to 97 km) of track.[1][3] It ran in some form from 1871 until much of it was abandoned between 1919 and 1933 and various locomotives were advertised for sale during 1919-22 and in 1933.[1][3] Some of the dual gauge track was removed at the same time.[1][3] However five new narrow gauge locomotives were bought in World War II, between 1934 and 1941; and a final one from Hunslet Engine Company in 1954.[1][3] The remaining narrow gauge lines finally closed in 1966.[4]

Parts of the 18 in gauge track were built as dual gauge track, with the outer rails gauged to standard gauge; other parts of the site were only served by standard gauge track.[1][3][4] Some 120 miles (190 km) of mixed or purely standard gauge track existed by 1918.[1][3][4] There is also evidence that lines with 1 ft 11 12 in (597 mm) narrow gauge track existed at the site.

The 18 in gauge railway[edit]

History and use[edit]

Due to the needs of moving ammunition during the Crimean War and the development of steam locomotion, the construction of an 18 in (457 mm) gauge railway was approved in 1866.[2] It was based on the Crewe Works Railway operating since 1862 inside the London and North Western Railway's Crewe Works.[2][4]

Construction of the Royal Arsenal's 18 in gauge railway began in 1871[3] although it was not officially opened until 10 January 1873.[1] The 18 in gauge railway provided for the movement of both goods and passengers within the Royal Arsenal.[2] This 18 in system, along with a similar one operated by the Admiralty at Chatham Dockyard were important proving grounds for the 'mainstream' outside framed narrow gauge steam locomotive as exemplified in particular by the pioneering '6-inch by 8-inch' Manning Wardle 0-4-0ST locomotives used at both sites.[3] During the 1870s and 1880s further 18-inch (457 mm)gauge steam locomotives arrived at Woolwich from Vulcan Foundry and Hudswell Clarke whilst experiments were carried out under the direction of Lt. Col. F.E. Beaumont into the development of compressed air motive power for rail usage on both main gauges of the Arsenal's railway system.[3] The system's passenger service for workmen also probably began during the 1880s initially using simple 'knifeboard' carriages inspired by vehicles used in Chatham dockyard and by the Royal Engineers. The 1890s saw further steam locomotives added, mainly of the 0-4-2T configuration built for the abortive Suakin-Berber campaign, whilst internal combustion motive power made its appearance in the form of the first of five oil locomotives by Richard Hornsby. The period from 1900 to 1916 saw the 18 inch gauge system in particular rise to its zenith to become the most extensive locomotive-worked narrow gauge railway on the British mainland, but the glory was not destined to far outlast the 1918 Armistice and its subsequent decline is dealt with in the section above.

18 inch gauge locomotives built for use at the Arsenal[edit]

Name Type Builder Works number Date Notes
Lord Raglan 0-4-0ST Manning Wardle 353 1871 Scrapped after 8/1914, by 3/1916
Boxer / Victoria 0-4-0ST Manning Wardle 477 1873 Sold to unknown buyer 1917
Albert Edward 0-4-0ST Manning Wardle 482 1873 Sold August 1919 to J.F. Wake thence to unknown buyer (Maker's spares supplied 1920)
Rocket 0-4-0ST Manning Wardle 555 1875 Scrapped June 1914
Norman Ramsey 0-4-0ST Manning Wardle 605 1876 Scrapped June 1914
Trumpeter 0-4-0ST Manning Wardle 612 1876 Scrapped August 1915
Shrapnel 0-4-0ST Manning Wardle 613 1876 Disposal as Manning Wardle 477
Vauban 0-4-0ST Manning Wardle 685 1877 Disposal as Manning Wardle 477
Coehorn 0-4-0ST Manning Wardle 696 1878 Scrapped November 1916
0-4-0 Royal Arsenal workshops 1877 Prototype Beaumont compressed air locomotive; out of use by 1881
0-4-0WT Fox Walker 386 1878 Possibly ordered for comparison against Beaumont loco; disposal unknown
Fusee 0-4-0ST Manning Wardle 939 1884 Sold to J.F. Wake November 1918, thence to Swanwick colliery, sold or scrapped after 12/1924
Gordon 0-4-0ST Manning Wardle 986 1886 Sold August 1919 to J.F. Wake, sold or scrapped after 12/1927
Torpedo 0-4-0ST Manning Wardle 1043 1888 Sold November 1918 to J.F. Wake, sold or scrapped after 12/1927
Arquebus 0-4-0ST Manning Wardle 1130 1889 Disposal as Manning Wardle 477
Iron Duke 0-4-0ST Vulcan Foundry 838 1878 Scrapped 1914
Carronade 0-4-0ST Hudswell Clarke 268 1884 Auctioned 1922, sold or scrapped shortly afterwards
Culverin 0-4-0ST Hudswell Clarke 269 1884 Disposal as Hudswell Clarke 268
Hector 0-4-0ST (improved version of 268-9 with longer rear overhang) Hudswell Clarke 273 1885 Disposal as Hudswell Clarke 268
Achilles 0-4-0ST (as 273) Hudswell Clarke 274 1885 Auctioned 1920 and 1921, sold or scrapped shortly after one of these auctions (Note: three class members had disappeared by early 1921)
Scipio 0-4-0ST (as 273) Hudswell Clarke 280 1885 Disposal as Hudswell Clarke 274
Hannibal 0-4-0ST (as 273) Hudswell Clarke 281 1885 Disposal as Hudswell Clarke 274
Basilisk 0-4-0ST (as 273) Hudswell Clarke 288 1886 Disposal as Hudswell Clarke 274
R.L. No.6 / Grenade 0-4-0ST (cut down version of 273) Hudswell Clarke 295 1887 Disposal as Hudswell Clarke 268
Militades 0-4-0ST (as 273) Hudswell Clarke 345 1889 Disposal as Hudswell Clarke 268
Ajax 0-4-0IST Bagnall 1442 1895 Auctioned 1920 and 1921 sold or scrapped shortly afterwards
Lachesis 0-4-0 (later 2-4-0)Compression Ignition Oil Locomotive Hornsby 1705 1896 Sold 1919 to J.F. Wake, sold or scrapped after 12/1927
Clotho 2-4-0 Compression Ignition Oil locomotive Hornsby 4535 1900 Scrapped 10/1915
Atropos 2-4-0 Compression Ignition Oil Locomotive Hornsby 5245 1901 Scrapped 2/1918
Hecate 2-4-0 Compression Ignition Oil Locomotive Hornsby 5883 1902 Disposal as Hornsby 1705
Alecto 2-4-0 Compression Ignition Oil Locomotive (Opposed Piston) Hornsby 7226 1904 Disposal as Hornsby 1705
Pluto 0-4-0ST Kerr Stuart 761 1901 Sold by auction 1921 to Taquah Mining & Exporation Co. Ltd, Gold Coast, sold or scrapped by 1957
Polyphemus 0-4-0ST Kerr Stuart 762 1901 Auctioned 1922, sold or scrapped shortly afterwards
Phaeton 0-4-0ST Kerr Stuart 763 1901 Disposal as Kerr Stuart 761
Pegasus 0-4-0ST Kerr Stuart 807 1902 Disposal as Kerr Stuart 761
Prometheus 0-4-0ST Kerr Stuart 808 1902 Disposal as Kerr Stuart 762
Phoenix 0-4-0ST Kerr Stuart 809 1902 Disposal as Kerr Stuart 762
Regulus 0-4-0ST (updated version of 761) Kerr Stuart 1266 1912 Disposal as Kerr Stuart 762
Pompey 0-4-0ST (as 1266) Kerr Stuart 1267 1912 Disposal as Kerr Stuart 762
Brutus 0-4-0ST (as 1266) Kerr Stuart 1268 1912 Disposal as Kerr Stuart 762
Petrolea 0-4-0ST (as 1266 but oil fired) Kerr Stuart 2400 1914 Disposal as Kerr Stuart 762
Megaera 4w petrol-mechanical locomotive Baguley-McEwan-Pratt 630 1914 Sold by auction 1921 to Lewes Portland Cement Co. Ltd., regauged to 2 ft. and scrapped 1931
London 0-4-0ST (updated version of Hudswell 273) Hudswell Clarke 1144 1915 Sold 1922 and re-advertised for sale in "Machinery Market" for 7 July that year - sold or scrapped shortly afterwards
Carnarvon 0-4-0ST (as 1144) Hudswell Clarke 1145 1915 Disposal as Hudswell Clarke 1144
Kent 0-4-0ST (as 1144) Hudswell Clarke 1146 1915 Disposal as Hudswell Clarke 1144
Cornwall 0-4-0ST (as 1144) Hudswell Clarke 1147 1915 Disposal as Hudswell Clarke 1144
Essex 0-4-0ST (as 1144) Hudswell Clarke 1148 1915 Disposal as Hudswell Clarke 1144
Bristol 0-4-0T (oil fired) Avonside Engine Co. 1715 1915 Sold 1/1933 to George Cohen Sons & Co. Ltd., Canning Town - sold or scrapped shortly afterwards
Glasgow 0-4-0T (as 1715) Avonside Engine Co. 1716 1915 Disposal as Avonside 1715
Liverpool 0-4-0T (as 1715) Avonside Engine Co. 1717 1915 Disposal as Avonside 1715
Newcastle 0-4-0T (as 1715) Avonside Engine Co. 1718 1915 Still extant 1936, scrapped by 1947
Derby 0-4-0T (as 1715) Avonside Engine Co. 1747 1916 Disposal as Avonside 1715
Woolwich 0-4-0T (as 1715) Avonside Engine Co. 1748 1916 To E.L. Pitt & Co. Ltd. 1960; Bicton Woodland Railway 1962; to RGM Waltham Abbey via Alan Keef Ltd. 2000 and on loan to Crossness Engines Trust 5/2011
Waltham 0-4-0T (coal fired) Avonside Engine Co. 1749 1916 Disposal as Avonside 1715
Birmingham 0-4-0T (as 1749) Avonside Engine Co. 1750 1916 Disposal as Avonside 1715
Sheffield 0-4-0T (as 1749) Avonside Engine Co. 1751 1916 Disposal as Avonside 1715
Charlton 0-4-0T (as 1749) Avonside Engine Co. 1752 1916 Disposal as Avonside 1715
Leeds 0-4-0T (as 1749) Avonside Engine Co. 1753 1916 Disposal as Avonside 1715
Manchester 0-4-0T (as 1749) Avonside Engine Co. 1754 1916 Out of use by 1947, scrapped 1951
Colchester 0-4-0T (as 1749) Avonside Engine Co. 1755 1916 Disposal as Avonside 1718
Cardiff 0-4-0T (as 1749) Avonside Engine Co. 1756 1916 Disposal as Avonside 1715
Berkeley 0-4-0T (as 1749) Avonside Engine Co. 1757 1916 Disposal as Avonside 1715
Enfield 0-4-0T (as 1749) Avonside Engine Co. 1758 1916 Disposal as Avonside 1715
Albert 0-4-4-0 Diesel-mechanical Hunslet Engine Co. 1722 1934 Sold to R.N. Bradbury, Warrington for scrap 10/1961
4w Diesel-mechanical Ruston Hornsby 192886 1939 Sold to Taurus Nicholls, dealer, Greenwich 1971 and subsequently scrapped
4w Diesel-mechanical Ruston Hornsby 213839 1942 To Bicton Woodland Railway 1971 via Lemon Burton, dealer, London
4w Diesel Mechanical Ruston Hornsby 213840 1942 To Stanfield Nurseries, Littlehampton 4/1971 thence to Great Bush Railway, Sussex where regauged to 2 ft.
Carnegie 0-4-4-0 Diesel-mechanical (updated version of Hunslet 1722) Hunslet Engine Co. 4524 1954 Sold to F. Darnell, North Ockenden, Essex, thence to Bicton Woodland Railway 2/1966. To RGM Waltham Abbey via Alan Keef Ltd. 2000

18 inch gauge locomotives built for the Royal Engineers and later acquired by the Arsenal[edit]

Name Type Builder Works number Date Notes
0-4-2 Back Tank (built as 2-4-2BT) Fox Walker One of 399-404 1878 Transferred from Medway Fortifications circa 1900, scrapped by 1914
Vulcan 0-4-2 Back Tank Vulcan Foundry 939 1883 Surplus to RE direct requirements after the failure of the Suakin-Berber Railway project owing to condition - probably scrapped soon after 1886 (see next entry)
Mercury 0-4-2 Back Tank Vulcan Foundry 1075 1884 See remarks for previous locomotive. No.s 939 and 1075 were used in 1886 experiments in the Arsenal by Thomas Russell Crampton and probably scrapped shortly afterwards
Mars 0-4-2 Back Tank Vulcan Foundry 1160 1885 Transferred from Medway Fortifications circa 1900; transferred for constructional work on Longmoor Military Railway 1905, withdrawn 1919, scrapped between 1924 and 1930, sectioned boiler extant
Venus 0-4-2 Back Tank Vulcan Foundry 1161 1885 History to 1905 as 1160, scrapped 1907
Osiris 0-4-2T Bagnall 710 1885 Built for Suakin-Berber project but never delivered. To Royal Engineers, Chatham, transferred to RAR circa 1896. Sold to J.F Wake 1919 and sold or scrapped after 12/1927
Serapis 0-4-2T Bagnall 711 1885 Pre-1896 history same as 710; scrapped 1912.
Anubis 0-4-2T Bagnall 712 1885 Pre-1896 history and disposal as 710
Isis 0-4-2T Bagnall 713 1885 Pre-1896 history as 710; precise date of disposal unrecorded but scrapped by 3/1919
Apis 0-4-2T Bagnall 714 1885 Pre-1886 history and disposal as 710
Cormorant 0-4-2T John Fowler & Co. 5058 1885 Built for Suakin-Berber Campaign and never delivered. To Royal Engineers at Chatham and RAR Woolwich circa 1896. Included in auctions during 1920 and 1921 and probably scrapped shortly afterwards
Vulture 0-4-2T John Fowler & Co. 5059 1885 Pre-1896 history and disposal as 5058
Ostrich 0-4-2T John Fowler & Co. 5060 1885 Pre-1896 history and disposal as 5058
Quail 0-4-2T John Fowler & Co. 5061 1885 Pre-1896 history and disposal as 5058
Flamingo 0-4-2T John Fowler & Co. 5062 1885 Pre-1896 history as 5058-61; transferred for construction work on Longmoor Military Railway 1905, withdrawn and scrapped 4/1919
Owl or Pelican 0-4-2T (improved version of 5058) John Fowler & Co. 5063 1885 Supplied to Royal Engineers, Chatham as replacement for Vulcan Foundry 939 or 1075 which were considered unfit for further military reserve use. To RAR circa 1896 and disposal as 5058
Owl or Pelican 0-4-2T (as 5063) John Fowler & Co. 5064 1885 Pre-1896 history and disposal as 5063

Locomotive data from various sources

Rolling stock[edit]

By the 1890s, the goods rolling stock on the narrow gauge part of the RAR consisted mainly of (1) a four-wheeled wagon utilising a standard wooden underframe with a cast iron double bearing assembly attached under each side to accommodate the wheelsets; and (2) a channel framed bogie wagon with cast iron bogie frames. There were at least three designs of bogie carriage in use at this time, namely the original 'knifeboard' open pattern, a closed 1st/2nd class composite with diagonal body planking and a 'curly roofed' suprintendent saloon. There were also a number of Bagnall and Fowler bogie wagons left over from the abortive Suakin-Berber campaign. By World War One, the closed seven plank bogie wagon using the type (2) chassis above was the most ubiquitous item of rolling stock and a small number of these even remained on site after the closure of the railway system. There were also seven narrow gauge passenger coaches supplied by Bristol Carriage & Wagon Co. in 1917 but these, along with all other narrow gauge passenger stock, are thought to have been disposed of in 1923.

explosives wagon of the Royal Arsenal Railway
  • A former explosive wagon, previously on display at North Woolwich Old Station Museum,[2] is now back on the Royal Arsenal site near the Heritage Centre, standing on some ex Chatham cast track plates.

The standard gauge railway[edit]

This railway was initially linked into the national railway system, to the South Eastern Railway, near Plumstead railway station.[1][3] According to local press reports, the link was opened in 1859 and this would appear to be the date that the early plateways were replaced by more conventional permanent way. Early internal motive power appears to have been by means of horses, whilst during the period from 1871 to 1875, the 18 inch gauge locomotive Lord Raglan appears to have undertaken some standard gauge stock movements by means of special bufferbeams (later removed) and mixed gauge track.[3] The first standard gauge locomotive, Manning Wardle 0-4-0ST Driver, arrived on the Arsenal's railway system in 1875 and for the next thirteen years exclusive reliance was placed on the Leeds company's four coupled products for day-to-day working (even two out of the three experimental compressed air locomotives tested on the standard gauge line during 1880-1 were officially Manning Wardle products) until a Hawthorn Leslie incursion into the market in 1888. From this period up to 1917 the standard gauge locomotive fleet was augmented steady by second-hand acquisitions and new machines from various sources. Rolling stock by World War One consisted of such diverse items as standard goods wagons, rail ambulances and proof sleds and gun wagons requiring special heavy gauge running rails. The surviving pre-1903 standard gauge locomotives in 1919 were quickly disposed of bar one 'hulk' but overall the inter-war rationalisation was less severe than was the case with the 18 inch gauge and the passenger service was even transferred to the standard gauge in 1923. Despite the transfer of much material away from the Arsenal in the early stages of World War Two, there was a revival of fortunes during this period, with the acquisition of more steam and diesel locomotives taking place during the period from 1936 to 1940. During the post Suez rundown, withdrawals of the steam fleet came thick and fast and there were even a few diesel replacements drafted in during the late 1950s from other Ordnance sites, but this did not delay the inevitable and the standard gauge system closed when munitions manufacture at Woolwich ceased in 1967.

Standard gauge locomotives built for use at the Arsenal[edit]

Name Type Builder Works number Date Notes
Driver 0-4-0ST Manning Wardle 515 1875 To Wantage Tramway 1919 possibly per J.F. Wake, scrapped 1920 owing to defective steampipe
Gunner 0-4-0ST Manning Wardle 581 1876 To J.F. Wake 1919, sold to Castner-Kellner Alkali Co. Ltd., Cheshire, scrapping date unknown
Pioneer 0-4-0ST Manning Wardle 676 1878 To Isherwood & Co. (contractor), Brentford 1920, sold or scrapped shortly after 6/1920
Caesar 0-4-0ST Manning Wardle 953 1886 To Holloway Bros. (contractors) Winchester circa 1919, scrapping date unknown
Lord Napier 0-4-0ST Manning Wardle 961 1886 Arsenal records say scrapped 1/1916 but remains still extant 9/1947 according to Railway Observer magazine (RCTS)
Bombard 0-4-0ST Hawthorn Leslie 2115 1888 To British Mannesmann Tube Co. Landore 1920 per Williams & Co., scrapping date unknown
Vulcan 0-4-0ST Vulcan Foundry 1399 1893 Disposal unknown, probably scrapped during First World War
Cyclops 0-4-0ST Hudswell Clarke 451 1895 To Currie, Rowlands & Co., Birkenhead, 1920 per Williams & Co.. To Cudworth & Johnson Ltd., Wrexham 1947 (loaned to William Lee, Seacombe 1950-64), scrapped 6/1964
Lord Kitchener 0-4-0ST Bagnall 1702 1902 To Walter Scott & Middleton (contractors), White Nile Dam, Sudan by 9/1920. To Pauling & Co. Ltd. (Contractors), Park Royal, London by 1950 and transferred to Crymlyn Burrows Depot. Sold to Benjamin Hughes & Co. Ltd., Loughor, Glamorgan 2/1950 and scrapped 1964
The Colonel 0-4-0ST Bagnall 1703 1902 History up to and including transfer to Paulings Crymlyn Burrows Depot as Bagnall 1702. Returned to Park Royal Depot by 7/1951 and scrapped 6/1954
The Master General 0-4-0ST Andrew Barclay 1188 1910 To Frank Edmunds, dealer,1922, thence to Mersey Docks & Harbour Board, Liverpool
George 0-4-0ST Andrew Barclay 1281 1912 To New Westbury Iron Co. Ltd. after 10/1921. To thurrock Chalk & Whiting Co. Ltd., Essex, 1939 and to T.W. Ward & Co. Ltd., Grays, for scrap 3/1966
Mary 0-4-0ST Andrew Barclay 1282 1912 To Pease & Partners, Stockton, 1921
Mercury 0-4-0ST Andrew Barclay 1317 1914 To Frank Edmunds 1921, thence to Glasgow Iron & Steel Co. Ltd., Wishaw, Lanarks. To Pease & Partners Ltd., Normanby Ironworks, Yorks. 9/1948
Mars 0-4-0ST Andrew Barclay 1360 1913 To Thomas Ward & Co. Ltd., Sheffield, circa 1921, thence to Esholt Sewage Works, Yorks.
Neptune 0-4-0ST Andrew Barclay 1361 1913 To New Westbury Iron Co. Ltd. 1920, sold to Finedon Ironestone Pits 1939
Jupiter 0-4-0ST Andrew Barclay 1362 1913 To Thomas Ward & Co. Ltd., Sheffield, circa 1921, thence to Esholt Sewage Works, Yorks.
Saturn 0-4-0ST Andrew Barclay 1371 1914 To Bute Works Supply Co. Ltd., Cardiff, 1920 thence to Elba Tinplate Works, Nr. Swansea 1923; to Velindre Tinplate Works circa 1954 and scrapped circa 1958
Undaunted 0-4-0ST Hawthorn Leslie 3083 1914 To G. Cohen, Sons & Co. Ltd., Canning Town for scrap 10/3/1954
Liberty 0-4-0ST Hawthorn Leslie 3089 1914 Scrapped on site by W. Arnott Young & Co. Ltd. 8/1963
Arethusa 0-4-0ST Hawthorn Leslie 3090 1914 To T. Hall & Co. (Llanshamlet), dealer, 1949, thence to Stella South Power Station, Blaydon-on-Tyne 12/1952. To Blaydon Generating Station 11/1955; scrapped 1965
Laurel 0-4-0ST Hawthorn Leslie 3091 1914 Disposal as Hawthorn Leslie 3083 but on 16/12/1957
Fearless 0-4-0ST Hawthorn Leslie 3134 1915 To Holland, Hannen & Cubitts Ltd. (Contractors), Kent, 1927 sold or scrapped after 1930
Invincible 0-4-0ST Hawthorn Leslie 3135 1915 Withdrawn 1956, to RAE Farnborough 1959, now at Isle of Wight Steam Railway, Havenstreet, I.o.W.
Lennox 0-4-0ST Hawthorn Leslie 3142 1915 To stationary boiler use by 1959, sold to J. Hardwick, Sons & Co. Ltd., West Ewell, for scrap 10/1959
Lark 0-4-0ST Hawthorn Leslie 3143 1915 As Hawthorn Leslie 3090 in 1949, thence to Steel Company Of Wales Ltd., Port Talbot, scrapped 1954
Lance 0-4-0ST Hawthorn Leslie 3155 1915 To South Staffs Mond Gas Company, Dudley Port, Staffs. circa 1920. To J. Cashmore for scrap 1952
Lynx 0-4-0ST Hawthorn Leslie 3156 1915 To Whitwood Chemical Co. Ltd., West Yorks. circa 1920
Legion 0-4-0ST Hawthorn Leslie 3158 1916 Disposal as Hawthorn Leslie 3089
Leonidas 0-4-0ST Hawthorn Leslie 3159 1916 To G. Simm (Machinery) Ltd. 11/4/1949 thence to T.Hall & Co.(Llansamlet) Ltd, dealer, 1949. To Norton Hill Colliery, Somerset 1951, scrapped circa 1955
Loyal 0-4-0ST Hawthorn Leslie 3160 1916 To J. Hardwick, Sons & Co. Ltd., West Ewell for scrap 5/1964
Lucifer 0-4-0ST Hawthorn Leslie 3168 1916 To T. Hall & Co. (Llansamlet) Ltd. 1949 thence to NCB Graigola Fuel Works, Swansea, 1950. To Caerphilly Tar Distillation Plant 3/1959, thence to J. Pesci & Sons Ltd. for scrap circa 1961; scrapped circa 3/1963
Larne 0-4-0ST Hawthorn Leslie 3186 1916 To J. Cashmore, Great Bridge, Staffs for scrap 7/1959
Leviathan 0-4-0ST Hawthorn Leslie 3187 1916 As Hawthorn Leslie 3186 but sale date 9/1961
Linnett 0-4-0ST Hawthorn Leslie 3196 1916 As Hawthorn Leslie 3160 but sale date 10/1959
Lurcher 0-4-0ST Hawthorn Leslie 3198 1916 To T. Hall & Co. (Llansamlet) Ltd. 1949, thence to Armstrong Whitworth & Co. Ltd., Newcastle 5/1953 and scrapped 1966
Cynthia 0-4-0ST Hawthorn Leslie 3204 1916 To Dowlow Lime & Stone Co. Ltd., Buxton, Derbyshire, 1921
Cleopatra 0-4-0ST Hawthorn Leslie 3205 1916 To J. Lyons & Co. Ltd., Greenford, Middlesex 1921
Lion 0-4-0ST Peckett 1351 1914 To T. Hall & Co. (Llansamlet) Ltd. 1949, thence to Wallend Slipway & Engineering Co. Ltd., Northumberland 3/1950. To Chasewater Railway, Staffs 10/1974, thence to Foxfield Railway 1/1975 and currently at Lincolnshire Wolds Railway
Tiger 0-4-0ST Peckett 1352 1914 To Woodham Bros., Barry Dock, Glamorgan for scrap, 7/1963
Africa 0-4-0ST Peckett 1414 1916 Disposal as Hawthorn Leslie 3186
Australia 0-4-0ST Peckett 1427 1916 Disposal as Peckett 1352
Canada 0-4-0ST Peckett 1441 1916 To H. Bean, Gillingham, Kent for scrap 5/1964, sold on to Lacmonts Ltd., Sheerness and scrapped 6/1964
New Zealand 0-4-0ST Peckett 1464 1917 Sold or scrapped by 1951
Valiant 0-4-0ST Peckett 1490 1917 Disposal as for Andrew Barclay 1188
Vanguard 0-4-0ST Peckett 1491 1917 To Brereton Collieries Ltd., Staffordshire, 1920, thence to Rawnsley Shed 8/1959. To Hamstead Colliey, Staffordshire 1/1961 and scrapped 11/1962
Vengeance 0-4-0ST Peckett 1492 1917 To Salt Union Ltd., Worcestershire, 1923
Venerable 0-4-0ST Peckett 1493 1917 To C.D. Phillips Ltd., dealer, Newport, Monmouthshire, 1923, thence to Trafford Park Estates Ltd., Manchester
Haig 0-4-0ST Bagnall 2606 1939 To Coltness Iron Co. Ltd., Newmains, Lanarks., 10/1957, scrapped circa 9/1963
Beatty 0-4-0ST Hudswell Clarke 1696 1939 Withdrawn by 1956, to E.L. Pitt Ltd., Brackley, Northants., dealer, to Oxfordshire Ironstone Co. Ltd., Banbury, Oxfordshire, 1/1958 to G. Cohen & Co. Ltd. for scrap 6/1965
French 0-4-0ST Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn 6976 1939 Disposal as Hawthorn Leslie 3186
Marlborough 0-4-0ST Andrew Barclay 2081 1940 To ROF Chorley, Lancashire, 6/1941
Wellington 0-4-0ST Andrew Barclay 2082 1940 Disposal as Andrew Barclay 2081
Roberts 0-4-0ST Andrew Barclay 2083 1940 Disposal as Andrew Barclay 2081 but date unknown
Fisher 0-4-0ST Andrew Barclay 2085 1940 Disposal as Andrew Barclay 2081 but date of transfer 18/12/1940
Kitchener 0-4-0ST Peckett 1872 1940 Disposal as Hawthorn Leslie 3186 but sale date 8/1959
Allenby 0-4-0ST Peckett 1978 1940 To E.L. Pitt & Co., Brackley, Northants., dealers, 8/1959 scrapped shortly afterwards
Jellicoe 0-4-0ST Peckett 1979 1940 Disposal as Peckett 1872
Byng 0-4-0ST Peckett 1983 1940 Disposal as Peckett 1872 but sale date 9/1961
Horne 0-4-0ST Peckett 1984 1940 Loaned to RAE Farnborough 3/1957-10/7/1959; final disposal as Peckett 1983
Alexander 0-4-0ST Peckett 1985 1940 To APCM, Kent Works, Stone, Kent circa 1949, sold for scrap 1967
Sturdee 0-4-0ST Peckett 1986 1940 Disposal as Peckett 1983
0-4-0 Diesel Mechanical Hunslet 1847 1936 To ROF Wilford, Notts. Sold to Birds Commercial Motors Ltd., Long Marston, Warwicks. by 1969
George 0-4-0 Diesel Mechanical Andrew Barclay 324 1937 To ROF, Crossgates, Leeds, 12/1966
Elizabeth 0-4-0 Diesel Mechanical Andrew Barclay 325 1937 To WD Bicester, Oxfordshire, 6/1967
Kent 0-4-0 Diesel Mechanical Andrew Barclay 331 1938 To ROF Dunham Hill, Cheshire, 2/1953
Essex 0-4-0 Diesel Mechanical Andrew Barclay 332 1938 Disposal as 325

Standard gauge locomotives intended for the abortive Suakin Campaign of 1885[edit]

Name Type Builder Works number Date Notes
Thor 0-4-0ST Manning Wardle 937 1885 Stored on Plumstead Marshes 1885 -(?) thence to Chattenden & Upnor Railway where named Vauban. To RAR circa 1903 and transferred to Army at Slough 8/1918
Kimberley 0-6-0ST Manning Wardle 949 1885 Stored on Plumstead Marshes 1885 -(?) thence to Chattenden & Upnor Railway where named Burgoyne. To RAR circa 1903 and sold to J.F. Wake 11/1919. Scrapped after 7/6/1925
Lord Roberts 0-4-0ST Manning Wardle 962 1885 Stored on Plumstead Marshes 1885 -(?) thence to Chattenden & Upnor Railway. To RAR circa 1903 and scrapped 1/1916
John Bull 0-6-0ST Manning Wardle 969 1885 Delivered too late for shipment to Suakin-Berber Railway campaign and in service on the military railway at Shoeburyness by 1894 after storage on Plumstead Marshes. Extensively repaired using maker's components in 1911, having passed to the Arsenal by this stage and sold or scrapped during or just after 1919
Lord Howe 0-6-0ST, later 0-4-2ST Manning Wardle 970 1885 Probably entered initial service at the Arsenal circa 1891 as delivered after abandonment of Suakin-Berber Railway project. Rebuilt to 0-4-2ST in 1893 using maker's components and believed scrapped in 1908

Standard gauge locomotives transferred from other military or ordnance establishments[edit]

Name Type Builder Works number Date Notes
Hercules 0-6-0ST Manning Wardle 812 1881 Supplied to Lucas & Aird and sold to War Department in 1885 for Chattenden & Upnor Railway. To RAR circa 1903. Final disposal as Manning Wardle 949
Nicholson 0-6-0ST Manning Wardle 847 1882 Supplied new to Lucas & Aird, Cudworth, Yorks., thence to War Department, Shoeburyness and transferred to RAR circa 1903. Scrapped 1/1916
School of Gunnery 0-4-0ST Neilson Reid 5936 1902 New to War Dept., Shoeburyness, loaned to RAR circa 1912 and returned to Shoeburyness in 1920. Sold or scrapped by 1946
Leeds 0-4-0 Diesel Mechanical John Fowler & Co. 22751 1939 New to ROF Crossgates, Leeds and transferred at unknown date. Returned to ROF Crossgates circa 1949
Anne formerlyGlascoed No.2 0-4-0 Diesel Mechanical John Fowler & Co. 22916 1940 Ex-ROF Glascoed 1958, to ROF King's Meadow, Notts. circa 1966. Scrapped in 1973
Charles formerly Glascoed No.3 0-4-0 Diesel Mechanical John Fowler & Co. 22896 1940 Ex-ROF Glascoed circa 1959, to F. Watkins (Engineers) Ltd., Coleford, Glos. by 4/1965
Phillip 0-4-0 Diesel Mechanical Hunslet 2373 1941 Ex-ROF Irvine, Ayrshire 22/3/1959, to War Department Bicester, Oxfordshire 30/5/1961
Margaret 0-4-0 Diesel Mechanical John Fowler & Co. 22059 1937 Ex-ROF Irvine, Ayrshire 13/6/1959, to War Department Bicester, Oxfordshire 30/5/1961
No.1 0-4-0 Diesel Mechanical Hunslet 1840 1936 Ex-ROF Irvine, Ayrshire 23/11/1959, to War Department Bicester, Oxfordshire 30/5/1961
No.2 0-4-0 Diesel Mechanical John Fowler & Co. 22058 1937 Ex-ROF Irvine, Ayrshire 28/10/1959, to War Department Bicester, Oxfordshire 30/5/1961

Standard gauge locomotives purchased from private sources[edit]

Name Type Builder Works number Date Notes
Olaf 0-4-0ST Manning Wardle 650 1877 Supplied to Lucas & Aird Ltd., Bromley and eventually purchased by the Arsenal circa 1900, scrapped 5/1917
Lord Nelson 0-4-0ST Manning Wardle 706 1878 Supplied new to McGregor & Badman (Contractors) Heaton Mersey (Midland Railway) under the name Sissy and eventually acquired by the Arsenal circa 1900. Sold to William Cory & Son, Essex circa 1919, thence to Rainham Rubbish Shoot and scrapped 1933
Ladysmith 0-4-0ST Manning Wardle 795 1882 New to J. Aird & Sons Ltd., Shustoke Reservoir contract (1882-3), Whiteacre Warwicks. and probably acquired by the Arsenal circa 1903. Scrapped during World War One
Bedenham No.4 0-4-0ST Andrew Barclay 1568 1917 Supplied new to Admiraly, Bedenham, Hampshire and to RAR via G. Cohen Sons & Co. Ltd. 1939. Sold or scrapped during or shortly after 1949
0-4-0ST Kerr Stuart 4227 1929 Ex-Kingsnorth Light Railway, Kent 1939, to Aberthaw & Bristol Channel Portland Cement Co. Ltd., Rhoose, Glamorgan by 1949. To Aberthaw Cement Works circa 1953 and scrapped circa 1954
L.N.E.R. No.984 (LNER Class Y7) 0-4-0T Darlington Works 1204 1923 Purchased October 1939, to ROF Cardonald, Lanarkshire circa 1950, scrapped circa 1955. A sister locomotive is preserved as L.N.E.R. No.985

Standard gauge locomotives hired from main line companies during World War One[edit]

Name Type Builder Works number Date Notes
G.E.R. No. 0228 (GER class 209 later LNER Class Y5) 0-4-0ST Neilson & Co. 2118 1876 Hired 1/1916, returned to G.E.R. 7/1918, scrapped as L.N.E.R. 07228 in 1927. A sister locomotive is preserved as G.E.R. 229
N.E.R. No. 559 (NER Class K later LNER Class Y8) 0-4-0T NER Gateshead Works 14 (Allotted Annually) 1890 Hired 11/1915, transferred to Slough 10/1918, returned to N.E.R., to L.N.E.R. 1923 and hired to Spurn Head Military Railway 1940-1, renumbered 8090 in 1946 and scrapped at Darlington by B.R. in 11/1948
N.E.R. No. 587 (NER Class H later LNER Class Y7) 0-4-0T NER Gateshead Works 39 (Allotted Annually) 1888 Hired 11/1915, returned to N.E.R. 11/1918, sold by L.N.E.R. to Choppington Colliery 2/1931 and scrapped in 1950
N.E.R. No. 898 (NER Class H later LNER Class Y7) 0-4-0T NER Gateshead Works 34 (Allotted Annually) 1888 Hired 11/1915, returned to N.E.R. 1/1919, sold by L.N.E.R. to Ord & Maddison, Middleton-in-Teesdale 9/1929 and scrapped in 1952. A sister locomotive to N.E.R. No.s 559, 587 and 898 is preserved as N.E.R. no. 1310

Experimental standard gauge compressed air locomotives tested within the Arsenal[edit]

Name Type Builder Works number Date Notes
0-4-0 Greenwood & Batley 1880 Four-cylinder locomotive supplied to Lt. Col. F.E. Beaumont's company and illustrated in the 1881 Royal Society of Arts paper of March 1881. Cylinder volumes in ratio 1:3:9:27. Final disposal unknown
0-4-0 (the "The Dartford Chronicle" suggested 0-6-0) Manning Wardle 761 1880 Tested for approximately two months within the Arsenal prior to a run from the Arsenal to Dartford for publicity purposes in May 1880 (covered in "The Dartford Chronicle" and "The Times"). This six-cylinder machine was probably a test bed for Beaumont's Channel Tunnel ambitions of the period. Its final disposal is unknown
0-4-0 Manning Wardle 762 1880 This was a four-cylinder locomotive constructed to test tramway theory, and it was initially tested on the Leeds Tramway Co.'s system and shunting at Victoria Docks before spending much of 1881 at the Arsenal. By 6 May 1882 (according to "The New York Times" of 16 June 1882) the engine was undergoing trials on the New York Elevated Railway, but compressed air traction was not adopted on this system, and there is apparently no further trace of the locomotive

Miscellaneous 1 ft 11 12 in (597 mm) gauge railway activity in the Arsenal[edit]

According to MED records two 1 ft 11 12 in narrow gauge locomotives were obtained for 'special work in the Marsh area'. Their known details are as below:

Name Type Builder Works number Date Notes
Tattoo 0-4-2ST Kerr Stuart 1291 1915 Purchased new: to Army Depot, Slough year ended 3/1919
Norwich 0-4-0WT(?) (?) (?) (?) Purchased 1915: to Army Depot, Slough year ended 3/1919

During World War Two, two Diesel locomotives of the same gauge were obtained, although the reason for their purchase is unknown:

Name Type Builder Works number Date Notes
4w Diesel Mechanical Hibberd 2232 1940 Purchased new, disposal unknown
4w Diesel Mechanical Hibberd 2233 1940 Purchased new, disposal unknown

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Clarke, B.R. and Veitch, C.C (1986). The Eighteen Inch Gauge Royal Arsenal Railway at Woolwich. privately published by B.R. Clarke. ISBN 0-948951-00-1. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Masters, Roy (1995). Britain in old photographs: The Royal Arsenal, Woolwich. Sutton Publishing. ISBN 0-7509-0894-7. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Smithers, M.K. (1993). An Illustrated History Of Eighteen Inch Gauge Steam Railways. Oxford Publishing Co. ISBN 0-86093-499-3. 
  4. ^ a b c d Middlemass, David (1991). Encyclopaedia of Narrow Gauge Railways of Great Britain and Ireland. Patrick Stephens Limited. 

Coordinates: 51°29′35″N 0°04′27″E / 51.4931°N 0.0743°E / 51.4931; 0.0743