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Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 15 - March 1973
Peckett 0-4-0ST No. 2104 - Peckett 0-4-0ST No. 2105 Rokeby
And Now - The Peckett Twins! - The Class R4 - John Mortham
In April 1950 two Peckett saddle tank locos Nos. 2103 and 2104 were delivered to Croydon 'B' Power Station and, in April the following year, a third one No. 2105 arrived at Croydon 'A'. There is some doubt whether this one was used at all until it joined the others over at Croydon 'B' some months later.
All three locos were worked hard handling all the station's coal traffic until the end of the 1960's when road transport took over. Although two diesels were purchased to deal with the little rail traffic that remained, the three steam locos were not finally withdrawn until early 1972.
It was on the Monday of the Summer Bank Holiday that Del Etheridge and I heard that two of them were up for disposal. We both wrote off the following day for tender forms and received permission to inspect the locos. A party of us went on Monday 4th. September and we were very satisfied with their general condition. It was agreed that Del should put in a tender for both of them.
By Thursday of the same week I was getting very worried as a number of people, who 1 believe knew the value of these locos, had told me that our offer was a bit on the low side. Accordingly I put in another tender increasing our offer a little and then there was nothing anyone could do but wait.
The closing date for tenders to be received was Tuesday 12th September and rather naively, I expected to hear something by the weekend. The beginning of October arrived but still no news, so I telephone the appropriate department at the Central Electricity Generating Board. I was informed that as the sale of these locos was not classified as 'Priority' they had to wait their turn and that could mean at least another two or three weeks.
November came and I had no fingernails left at all by then. Again I got on the phone to the Central Electricity Generating Board and was told that a decision would be made before long. I enquired whether the delay was being caused by low offers in which case I would be prepared to increase mine. I could almost see these locos slipping out of our hands. I was told that no offers received after the closing date could be considered but, it was suggested that it might help if 1 was to write a letter making a higher bid as this would at least indicate that funds were at hand to back my first offer. I was to learn later that someone had been unable to raise enough money to back their offer and had had to withdraw.
So I wrote making my increased offer on 3rd. November and, on the 8th November, I received a phone call to say that the locos were ours, for my first offer too, I was pleased to note. I got my cheque off to the Central Electricity Generating Board the next day.
Del and I went down to Croydon on Saturday 25th November to drain the tanks and boilers before there were any severe frosts. We were very disappointed however to discover one of the makers plates had been removed. We made quite certain that all the remaining 'collectors items' left with us that day.
I wrote to Croydon informing them of our loss and also set about making arrangements with Everley Bros. to transport the locos to Quainton. December 12th and 13th were the dates to which we agreed.
My next visit was on Saturday 9th December when I generally lubricated both locos before they were moved around. I also heard that the missing plate might have been located.
The official handing over ceremony was on Monday 11th December and I was relieved to be given the missing works plate. Before leaving I assisted with the shunting of the locos to a point where the loading of them was thought to be easiest.
By 7 am the following day I was back again - Del arrived shortly after and Everley's low-loader swung into the yard at 8 am as arranged.
After many anxious moments that neither Del or I will ever forget No. 2104 was on the low-loader. It was just after 1 pm and it was arranged that we should meet up again at Quainton about 4 pm.
After lunch Del and I left for Quainton. We failed to find the low-loader during the journey and arrived at our depot about 3.45 p.m. Ten minutes later the low-loader was at the gate but to our horror 2104 was leaning over and appeared to be ready to fall off at any minute. It had been stopped by the Police in Aylesbury who, after examining everything allowed it to continue on its journey. They had assumed quite rightly that its destination was Quainton- after all where else could a loco have been going?
Del and I had a quick look around and could see that the loco had fallen off one of the rails. We just managed to squeeze it through the gate although, at one stage, it was touch and go for the letter-box. It was obvious that it could not be unloaded that night, so it was decided to make a start the following morning.
By 8 am Del and I had arrived and the driver brought a mate with him but it still took all of us to 3.30 pm before 2104 was safely on our track.
Del had only been able to arrange to have two days off work so it was with a number of misgivings I left home at 5 am on Thursday. I met the driver and another mate at Everley's yard at 6.30 am. We got to Croydon by 8 am.
This time, due to the experience gained in the previous two days and not I'm sure to Del's absence, the loading went off smoothly and we had left by 11.30 am. We got to Quainton at about 3.30 pm. I was pleased to see Robin Waywell in the yard, and he was quickly enlisted to help unload. By 5.30 pm we persuaded 2105 to trundle down our ramp and to give 2104 a friendly nudge.
Handbrakes were quickly applied and the Peckett Twins had arrived.
Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
Page Updated: 21 October 2017