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Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn 7681 ‘Agecroft No.3’ formerly ‘Bolton No.1’

The Manufacturer

Former Bolton No.1 is one of 424 locomotives built to the 14’’ Cylinder, four wheeled, saddle tank locomotives introduced by R & W Hawthorn in 1885. Bolton No.1 was built in 1951 by Robert Stephenson & Hawthorns (RSH), one of a group of 70 locomotives built by RSH between 1939 and 1958. The predecessors of RSH at Forth Banks, R & W Hawthorn and Hawthorn & Leslie, who built 354 locomotives of the same type between 1885 and 1937.

As for Agecroft No. 3/Bolton No1, she was works number 7681 ordered on the 7th of December 1949, the customer order was received from BEA NW Division at Kearsley Power Station on the 21st of February 1950 and was dispatched on the 25th of June 1951 to the Bolton Power Station in Royal Blue livery lettered with BEA (British Electricity Authority) on the Cab side with a small inscription saying British Electrical Authority, North Western Division. On the either side of the saddle tank with a nameplate saying Bolton No.1.

Service Life

She was delivered to the Bank o’ th’ Bank Power Station in Bolton. It was intended to replace a capstan and rope method of shunting coal wagons but didn’t. No.1 then moved to Chadderton Power Station in January 1952 and in March 1954 moved back to Bolton. It’s believed that the loco didn’t remain at Bolton for long because No.1

couldn’t fit the loading gauge at the site. No.1 was then transferred in September 1954 to the Agecroft Power Station where the locomotive was renamed to Agecroft No.3 the loco was later repainted in a Pea Green. Agecroft Power Station closed in 1980.

Preservation

Out of a total of 424 locomotives built to this design only 53 of this example are left in the world. 7681 was later past onto the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester on the 11th May 1982, the loco was disposed of in 2000 where it moved to Long Marston and later to the Swindon Steam Museum, for a long period of time where it was planned to be restored. However, the locomotive was purchased by the Whitwell & Reepham Railway and currently under overhaul by the Thursday Gang, hopefully to be running by Mid-2019.

Sister Loco’s at Agecroft Power Station

Once Bolton No.1 moved to the Agecroft Power station she met up with two other locomotives of the same type; Works No. 7416 Agecroft No 1 built in 1948 and Works No.7485 Agecroft No 2 also built in 1948. These engines were affectionately known as the three little Maid’s, fortunately Agecroft No.3’s sisters have survived into preservation. Agecroft No.1 is preserved at the Museum of Science and Industry and Agecroft No.2 Ribble Steam Railway, currently awaiting overhaul.