Gertrude arrives at Leighton Buzzard Railway

The Leighton Buzzard Railway is very pleased to announce the arrival at its Page’s Park base of Andrew Barclay built 0-6-0T locomotive Gertrude, (No 1578 of 1918). The loco, which was built in 1918 joins its sister loco and long-term Leighton Buzzard resident Doll, and will be put into regular service on the Railway’s passenger trains.

Gertrude was one of three locomotives built by Barclays for Alfred Hickman Ltd’s Sydenham Ironstone Pit at Kings Sutton in Oxfordshire – the others being Winifred (No 1424 of 1915) and Doll (No 1641 of 1919). The quarry was closed in 1925 following the takeover of Alfred Hickman Ltd by VStewart and Lloyds Ltd and all three locos were transferred to their Spring Vale Furnace and Steelworks at Bilston near Wolverhampton in Staffordshire. Winifred is believed to have been scrapped by 1939 but Gertrude and Doll worked until withdrawal in 1959.

Both locomotives were saved by the late Max Sinclair, who acted as a ‘middle man’ for people who wanted steam locomotives, and organizations that no longer wanted them. Max saved nine locomotives and assisted with the purchase of at least five others. He kept none. Gertrude and Doll cost £2 each, Max sold Doll at once for £5 and Gertrude was passed to Neville Melhuish and then to the late Peter Westmacott.

Pete Westmacott was a long-time supporter of the Leighton Buzzard Railway and Gertrude has been loaned to the Railway by his daughter. The new arrival will be put into regular service on the Railway’s passenger trains.

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