The Steeple Grange Light Railway

Hibberd Locos

Three locomotives which are products of FC Hibberd & Co Ltd of Park Royal in London were bought from Gloddfa Ganol by an SGLR member. This firm came into existence in 1926 and at first subcontracted the construction of the locos they sold, only commencing manufacture in their own right in 1932. After just thirty years, during which a large number of designs both for narrow and standard gauge were produced, the firm became part of the Butterley group and production was switched to their Codner Park works in Derbyshire. However only a handful of locos were produced there before construction ceased altogether.

The oldest loco, number 1881, was built in 1934 and worked on a 1' 8" gauge tramway at Crowle Brickworks near Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire. It is a Hibberd "Y" type, with a Ford 8hp petrol engine, and fitted with a cab. The line closed in June 1968, replaced by dumpers, and the loco was bought for preservation in October 1970 by Richard Morris of Kent, one of the consortium of enthusiasts who later set up the narrow-gauge collection at Gloddfa Ganol. Mr Morris re-gauged it to 2' gauge in 1972.

Next comes number 3424, delivered on 21 July 1949 to William Thomas & Co Ltd at the Saltlands Tileries, Chilton Trinity, just outside Bridgwater in Somerset. It is a similar machine to number 1881, but without a cab, and quite coincidentally the railway at this location was 1' 8" gauge too. It closed in 1960, with the works itself finishing three years later. After a period of disuse the loco was bought by Mr Morris in 1969, and like number 1881 he converted it in 1972 to 2' gauge.

Finally there is number 4008, a class "DY" loco with a 9hp Lister water-cooled diesel engine. It was built as recently as 1963 and it is uncertain whether it was one of the last to be made in London, or one of the few to originate from Derbyshire. It was delivered on 19th April of that year to Sanders & Forster Ltd of Stratford in London, for whom it worked until the 1970s before passing into preservation first in Surrey and then at Gloddfa Ganol. This loco was 2' gauge from the outset, but 1' 6" gauge axles and wheels have been made up for it, and this is likely to be the first of the three to see action at Steeple Grange.

© Steeple Grange Light Railway Society