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Privateering Pug and Homeward Bound

The Pug Privateer and Return Home.


We were approached by Brown & Polson, cornflour millers whose premises were in Trafford Park, Manchester for the loan of 51218 as their own shunter, a Barclay 0-4-0T was being retubed.   The firm had previously hired Pugs from British Railways to cover for their own loco.


5 April 1967  51218 in steam travelled via Ashburys and the Fallowfield Loop to Trafford Park Sidings coupled to WD 90625.   By this date WDs were not particularly common on the LMR and this was a Wakefield loco.   Because of doubts as to whether the Pug’s short wheelbase and light axle loading would reliably operate track circuits, it had been intended for 51218 to run engine and van but as the local guards were on strike, a second loco was provided instead.     On arrival at Trafford Park Sidings, 90625 went to Trafford Park BR shed and 51218 went under its own power onto the Trafford Park Estates lines accompanied by Manchester Ship Canal Company diesel shunter D10 to the works of Brown and Polson.

6 April 1967 51218 in steam.

9 April 1967  51218 worked trial trips which were satisfactory.

10 April 1967 51218 took over daily shunting duties.

2 May 1967 Last day of work at Brown & Polson.

11 May 1967 51218  moved from Brown & Polson to Trafford Park BR shed to enable the boiler to be washed out.    The loco ran under its own steam to the BR boundary and a Sulzer Type 2 took it the rest of the way.

21 May 1967 51218 steamed at Trafford Park shed and worked to the Trafford Park Sidings where a train of goods brakevans had been assembled.   These were worked to Westinghouse Road in the Park itself where participants in the “Trafford Park Estate Brakevan Trip” joined.    The first move was back to the junction where the shunter who had assembled the train for us and seen us depart thought we had finished for the day—not so.    We covered many of the lines, spurs and junctions in the Park.   The gradients at  Ashburton Road where it crossed the Bridgewater Canal caused some problems and on its return the train had to make two or three attempts to reach the top.    At the conclusion of the trip, the loco went to the Tobacco Bonded warehouse of Trafford Park Warehouses Limited.

15 June 1967, Two Manchester Ship Canal locomotives purchased for preservation were moved from Mode Wheel (the principal Manchester Ship Canal shed and works).    Number 31 went by road to KWVLR whilst number 67 which had been purchased by Gordon Blears was hauled round to the same warehouse where 51218 was parked.    Two other MSC steam locos numbers 32 and 70 went to the East Lancashire Railway at Bury.

14 July 1967 Boiler inspections on 51218 and 67 were carried out.

23 September 1967 (Saturday), Both locos were steamed and around noon were taken out to “A” junction in Trafford Park where there were still locomotive preparation pits.     However Manchester United Football Club were playing at home that day and when the time came to take the locos back to the warehouse, it was found that the tracks were completely blocked by the cars of football fans attending the game.   Ideas of using the engine’s dumb buffers to push the cars out of the way were soon dropped.   Eventually the cars departed and we got back to the tobacco warehouse.

28 October 1967 Both locomotives steamed and prepared.

29 October (Sunday) .   The Mode Wheel Brakevan trip.     The locos again went to Trafford Park Sidings in brilliant autumn sunshine to collect the brakevans and a “pipe” open wagon.  Again passengers joined at Westinghouse Road.  This trip again covered many of the lines in Trafford Park and also went across the famous swing bridge over the Manchester Ship Canal to the MSC shed at Mode Wheel.

10 December 1967   Both locos had boilers and tanks drains for the inter.


4 December 1968 Boiler inspections.

6 December 1968 51218 left the Tobacco warehouse back to Brown & Polson for a second period of hire, at £5 per day.


20 January 1969 Last day 51218 worked at Brown & Polson

13 September 1969 Trial steaming and preparation of both locos, 51218 and 67.

14 September 1969 The Manchester Ship Canal Brakevan trip.   Again 51218 and 67. collected brakevans and an open wagons from British Railways.  Passengers joined at Trafford Wharf.   This trip went the remaining length of the MSC line to within sighting distance of the M6 overbridge near Latchford.    51218 was detached to take water near Irlam steelworks and 67 took the train onwards.

9 October 1969 51218 taken by road to Ingrow

10 October 1969 51218 arrived back at Haworth after an absence of two and a half years.


Photograph information.


P7.  This photograph was taken whilst Pug 51218 was hired out to Brown and Polson in the Trafford Park Industrial Estate.   The engine is pulling loaded coal hopper wagons off the Estate lines in order to take them to the Brown and Polson boilerhouse.   Cornflour is dangerously combustive, even explosive, but the factory's ban on naked lights does not seem to have applied to steam locomotives.  


Richard S Greenwood October 2016


Richard S Greenwood MBE the chairman of STORM has recorded the history of all things rail in the Rochdale area and around the country, with special attention to steam days at Castleton Station and Baggs Yard, which lays within a triangle of lines of the South, North and East Castleton Junctions.  Here he records the short visit of class A3 60103 Flying Scotsman, 28th September 2016 as it awaits the signal to proceed via the East junction enroute to the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway and Ian Riley’s engineering works at Bury. S Perryman STORM

Contact Information


Meeting Place: Woolworths Social Club
Gipsy Lane
OL11 3HA

Meeting times


2nd Tuesday in Feb, April, June, August, Oct and December,in The Blue Pits Inn, 842 Manchester Road, Castleton, Rochdale, OL11 2SP