18 Aug 2016

Steam loco back on track at British Steel in Scunthorpe

A steam locomotive which has been lovingly restored over the last nine years is taking visitors around British Steel’s Scunthorpe works.

Cranford, a 92-year-old loco, has been rebuilt by the Appleby Frodingham Railway Preservation Society and has returned to service for the first time in 45 years as it takes guests on the organisation’s summer rail tours. 

Glenn Britcliffe, the society’s operations coordinator, said: “Everyone is very proud that Cranford is going again. 

“The completion of this project follows hundreds of hours of work by members of our organisation. 

“Every single component of the loco has been refurbished or replaced with impressive results, ready for our tours.” 

Cranford – which is owned by one of the society’s members – was built by the Avonside Loco Company in Bristol in 1924. 

The standard gauge loco used to operate at the Stavely Ironworks near Chesterfield before moving to the Cranford Ironworks. It was there that it was retired in the 1970s. 

However, it is now back in service – thanks to the skills and dedication of the Appleby Frodingham Railway Preservation Society’s members and supporters. 

One of the major challenges they faced was that many of the parts needed for the restoration project are no longer available so they had to make them themselves. 

Glenn said: “It’s a fairly small loco but when you take it apart and put the pieces on the floor it’s really big. 

“Everything that is made is unique and has to go back in the same place.” 

The restoration project has spanned the ages with some British Steel apprentices as young as 16 years of age helping more senior members of the society, some of whom are in their 70s. 

And Glen said: “It is helping to save and pass on the skills of the older people to a younger generation.” 

Cranford, which is one of two locos operated by the society, has not been confined to the Scunthorpe steelworks since its restoration. Earlier this summer it visited the Summer Steam Gala at Foxfield Railway near Stoke. 

However, it is currently proving a major draw at British Steel in Scunthorpe as it takes visitors around the Scunthorpe site’s internal rail networks, while the organisers provide commentary on the steelmaking process. 

Many of the society’s members have had a love of steam since their childhoods and their passion for locos is fuelled by the knowledge they are helping preserve a living piece of history. 

And the tours, which begin at 1.30pm and last around two-and-a-half hours, are the perfect chance for steam lovers to see Cranford in action and get a unique view of the steelworks. 

2016 tours are taking place on the following dates: 

  • 20 August
  • 27 August
  • 10 September
  • 17 September
  • 24 September

You can book your ride on the Cranford by contacting the Brigg Tourist Information Centre on 01652 657053 or emailing brigg.tic@northlincs.gov.uk 

The tours are free but passengers can make donations to the Appleby Frodingham Railway Society.