Hunslet 0-4-0DH: 9222
Hun-Guard or maybe Van-Let?
|Original power unit||Rolls-Royce C6TFL (300 bhp)|
|Weight||35tonne (in working order)|
|Transmission||2-speed Twin Disc 11535 and 28-200 powershift to Hunslet Type D Final Drive|
|Present Location||Darley Dale
In 1984 Hunslet built five 35tonne 0-4-0DHs for the British Army of the Rhine, Army numbers 874-878. Although resembling traditional shunting locos, they were built with 2-speed Twin Disc transmissions and to German (3000mm) width. The normal Hunslet 0-4-0 had a wheelbase of about 6'6", these however had a wheelbase of 9ft and had side rods of fluted construction with roller crank pin bearings. The two-speed transmissions gave them a "tripping" capability of around 30mph, whereby they could be transferred from depot to depot over the lines of the Deutsche Bundesbahn. With the run down of the BAOR post 1993, depots much preferred the 60ton 0-6-0DH Barclays built at the same time, and control system issues with the Hunslets saw them used little. This loco, formerly MoD 875, returned to the UK and was delivered to Long Marston, where it was used by YEC to position wagons returning from Germany into storage sidings. It was found on arrival to have a recorded mileage of only 1400 in 13-14 years. Later on, the 2-speed transmission was removed for possible further use by the MoD and the remains of the loco, having also had its engine removed, was about to be scrapped when Andrew stepped in and bought it.
One might not unreasonably wonder what value a loco with no transmission, and too wide for use in the UK, would have in Andrew's collection, but having seen YEC remanufacture two other of these locos (874 for Ford in Belgium and 878 for Alstom in the UK) he knew just how little wear and tear these locos had had and that narrowing them to UK width was possible. The matter of the superstructure though, was soon solved when RMS Locotec, remanufacturing a Vanguard 0-6-0DH for Aggregate Industries at Croft, made available the cab, fuel tank and casing structure which was duly tacked on to the bare Hunslet chassis for ease of storage.
Meanwhile, the MoD, having concluded that the retention of the 2-speed transmissions was not worthwhile, put them on disposals tender and Andrew was successful in purchasing two, although not the original one that had been removed from 875. With plans to utilise a Cummins 14 litre engine, the result should be an impressive, dual-fitted 0-4-0DH with a 30mph top speed, with thus considerable potential for heritage line "off peak" passenger or works use.
Although the resultant loco will not be a preserved loco in most senses, there is an interesting historical twist. In 1970/71, Thomas Hills were trying to get into the North Eastern Area of the NCB, who insisted on inside frame locos whereas Hills traditionally built outside frame. To meet NCB NE requirements, 0-4-0DH and 0-6-0DH inside frame designs were prepared and submitted, although the tender was lost on price. The 0-4-0DH design, a copy of which is in Andrew's possession, bears a distinct likeness to a Hunslet 0-4-0 chassis with a Thomas Hill superstructure.
On September 11th 2017 the loomotive left storage in Wales, arriving at Darley Dale the following morning. Work on narrowing the loco down to UK width began in spring 2018, with the loco also having its superstructure removed for restoration. The plan is that it will be the first loco paired with the 2HAP, for which it will have an MU system as well as the planned dual braking.