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National Railway Museum transfers ‘Handyman’ to Statfold Narrow Gauge Museum Trust

Narrow-gauge locomotive to be restored at Staffordshire-based railway and museum.

Industrial 3ft narrow-gauge locomotive Handyman has joined the Statfold Narrow Gauge Museum Trust following a permanent transfer from the Science Museum Group.

The locomotive travelled to the museum near Tamworth by road from the National Railway Museum in York, ready for public display in time for the museum’s Enthusiast Weekend: Trangkil 50 event on 12 and 13 June.  

Handyman is a 3ft gauge 0-4-0 saddle tank built in 1900 by Hudswell Clarke in Leeds for the Burton Ironstone Company in Northamptonshire. It is an example of the many thousands of small industrial steam locomotives that worked on privately owned railway systems at factories, mines and industrial sites all around the country.

The locomotive spent its operational life moving ironstone at quarries across the East Midlands before ending up at Scaldwell Quarry which ceased operations in 1963.

Handyman was bought by a group of enthusiasts who saved it from being scrapped, but the locomotive was never fully restored and was eventually acquired by the National Railway Museum in 2008 to feature in a proposed display on railway construction.

However, this project did not progress to completion and without this focus, Handyman’s purpose at the museum was already covered by the similar, although standard-gauge, industrial locomotive Bauxite which remains in the Science Museum Group Collection. Although it joined the collection, Handyman was not designated by the Railway Heritage Designation Advisory Board.

Handyman was listed for transfer by the Science Museum Group in June 2020 along with 15 other items from the collection. After completing an application to receive the locomotive, which was then assessed for suitability, the Science Museum Group’s Board of Trustees approved the transfer of Handyman to Statfold Narrow Gauge Museum Trust. Handyman joins the museum and heritage railway’s extensive collection of more than 30 narrow-gauge locomotives.

Statfold railway and museum is home to the old Burton to Ashby Tram and one of the largest collections of narrow-gauge historic steam, diesel and electric locomotives in the country.

Henry Noon, Trustee Statfold Narrow Gauge Museum Trust, said: “We are delighted to have Handyman at the Statfold Narrow Gauge Museum Trust. Not only does it add to our Hunslet and Hudswell Clarke theme it also adds to the narrow-gauge story being told in our dedicated Narrow-Gauge Museum, being our only 3` gauge locomotive. Handyman will now undergo a thorough cosmetic restoration to the same standard we applied with “Hodbarrow”.”

Andrew McLean, Assistant Director and Head Curator of the National Railway Museum, said: “This is a very positive development which will restart the restoration of Handyman which given the amount of work required and the resources available, would not be a viable project for the National Railway Museum. Transferring the locomotive to a new owner in a more appropriate setting, will ensure it can be restored and returned to public display for people to enjoy.”

Ends

For more information, please contact:

Simon Baylis 01904 686 299/simon.baylis@railwaymuseum.org.uk

For more information about management of the collection, please visit:  www.sciencemuseumgroup.org.uk/about-us/collection/managing-the-collection/

About the National Railway Museum

  • The National Railway Museum in York has the largest collection of railway objects in the world and prior to Covid-19, attracted more than 750,000 visitors per year
  • The collection includes over 260 locomotives and rolling stock, 600 coins and medals and railway uniform, equipment, documents, records, artwork and photographs
  • The museum holds an archive of over 1,400 sound items and 16 boxes of papers and photographic material from pioneering sound recordist Peter Handford
  • The National Railway Museum reopened to the public on 19 May 
  • The National Railway Museum is part of the Science Museum Group of national museums which includes Locomotion in Shildon, the Science Museum in London, the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester and the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford

Part of the Science Museum Group