Tristan Leverett reports. A chance conversation with an ‘steam interested’ colleague (that’s code for any excuse to spread the word/bore people about steam) about a trip to Tinkers Park for the RLS spring do 2016. I was explaining with some exuberance about the ploughers ‘Windsor’ & ‘Sandringham’ which now live with the ‘Claud Jessett Trust’. After saying about what hard life they’ve lived, really having two working lives one ploughing and the second with James Lowther and his dredging concern.
Suddenly a lightbulb moment happened for my colleague as he said, “that sounds familiar, I’m sure I went to see some steam engines dredging two lakes at Haslemere in the late 1970’s early 80’s” Followed by those words we love to hear “I think I have some photos somewhere!”
Well here they are, some unseen photos of the engines arriving and at work. In classic style one of the pictures shows 15364, “Windsor” hard up against a tree to anchor the engine whilst pulling! Apparently, the tree still holds a scar from this.
With there being two lakes in line there was an earth mover between the lakes emptying the dredge before the second pull through the next lake.
After a conversation with Pete Narraway, he also recalled seeing the engines at work around the same time and said at that time an adapted skip was being used for the dredge! Makes you wonder how heavy this homemade dredge would have been by the end of the pull? At a guess, very bloody heavy! Pete said when he saw them, the pulling engine stalled several times under the strain, even with the button in and the engine well in the blood.
The long working life of these engines is a credit to John Fowler, I think many of us can remember seeing them in poor cosmetic condition over the years, now I think they will enjoy their retirement at Tinkers Park. I for one look forward to seeing them out again in the future, hopefully together again working, though perhaps without the skip!
All images copyright of Tim Hook.