By Geoff Courtney
When the fire of Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Class 27 No. 1300 was lit for the very first time 122 years ago, Queen Victoria still had five years of her long reign remaining, the Prime Minister was the Marquess of Salisbury and the world’s first mass production car, the Ford Model T, was more than a decade away.
The 0-6-0, designed by L&Y chief mechanical engineer John Aspinall for freight operations and one of a class of nearly 500 locomotives, was built at Horwich and entered traffic in January 1896, becoming LMS No. 12322 after Grouping in 1923 and No. 52322 following Nationalisation in 1948.
Like so many examples of Victorian engineering, it was built to last and it gave 64 years of service before being withdrawn by BR from the Oldham shed of Lees (26E) in August 1960. Rather than having an appointment with the cutter’s torch however, it was saved for preservation by a Lancashire civil engineering company and now enjoys life on the East Lancashire Railway in the ownership of Andy Booth.
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