HISTORY OF 0-6-0 ST NO WD 150 “ROYAL PIONEER”

royal pioneer arriving at Peak Rail
royal pioneer at darley dale

Ordered by the Ministry of Supply and out shopped in green in April 1944 by Robert Stephenson & Hawthorns Ltd (works no 7136/44) as WD 5186 and loaned to the War Department at their Central Ordnance Depot, Donnington, Shropshire. She was renumbered 75186 in late 1944 and to 150 circa 1951/2. She was sold to the War Department in the early 1950’s. She was sent to the Hunslet Engine Company for repairs during 1954/55 and returned to the WD this time to the Royal Engineers, Arnott, Oxon in April 1955 and was named Royal Pioneer in June of this year. She then went to Central Ammunition Depot, Kineton, Warwickshire in April 1956 but by September 1961 she was put into store. Finally, she was sold to Hunslet in September 1963. Here she was completely rebuilt including a new steel firebox; underfeed stoker and gas producer system (since removed) for £15,000 in 1969 the intention being to resell her to the NCB.

She could not be sold and was purchased by J E Warrington for £1,500 as new and was moved to the Bahamas Railway Society at Dining in August 1969. She was officially named “Warrington” after her owners’ hometown and painted in the Towns Corporation’s pale blue livery lined in primrose on the 12th October 1969 the ceremony was performed by the Mayor of Warrington.

Warrington was also an ‘away’ performer in May 1973 she travelled to Manchester Docks for the Transpo ‘73’ Exhibition now supporting her War Department Olive Green livery.

Peak Rail purchased her in July 1990 for £18,000 still painted in War Department Green as WD150 and after undergoing a full boiler retube and the fitting of carriage warming, and vacuum braking apparatus returned to traffic in crimson livery.