Mid-Lincolnshire Ironstone Company: The Greetwell Locomotives


The mines at Greetwell were long-lived but this was a conservative system: the equipment hardly changed during its existence and horse traction was employed long after all other ironstone tramways of consequence had changed to mechanical motive power; steam and diesel locomotives were tried, the former was a failure and was quickly discarded, whilst the diesel was only used for a short time when the ironstone was practically exhausted.

No.1 0-4-0T OC AB 1246/1911 6”x 10” ; 1’ 10” New 5/1911 s/s c1916 (1)
4wDM RH170374/ 1934 16HP class
New 8/1934 (2)
4wDM RH174534/ 1936 10HP class
Bought 09/1939 (3)


1) An unusual looking 0-4-0T from Andrew Barclay. Numbered ‘1’, presumably in expectation of further locomotives, she had a front tank and no cab. She had outside cylinders (6″x10″) and driving wheels of 1’10” diameter. Not a great success;she was presumably too heavy for the lightly laid track, and would not have been suitable for underground work. She was advertised for sale in the ‘Contract Journal’ of 22nd March, 1916 and then disappears. (Although numbered  ‘1’ it is assumed that no other locomotives were built. Nevertheless E M Sympson, writing in the ‘Cambridge County Geography’ for Lincolnshire (1913?) refers to: with narrow-gauge rails and trucks, on which horse-traction is being superseded by small locomotives). (For interest, the Andrew Barclay works list is available)

2) Accquired August 1934, possibly with the intention of working in Wilsons’ Mine, but lasted less than a year, being sent to the new mines at Nettleton Top. [This locomotive later (1961) went to the Welshpool & Llanfair Railway as No.3 ‘Raven’, and in 1974 was sold to W Free, Frampton-on-Severn, where she lay rusting in a barn for a number of years. By 1989 she was in John Quentin’s collection in Herefordshire, in a dismantled state.  Later (by 2003) the locomotive, regauged to 2’ 0”  and named ‘Bessie’, moved to Mr A Hodgson’s private site in Stoke-on-Trent].


3) Despatched to Winmalen & Hausmann, Rotterdam, Holland on 2nd March, 1936 (Order number 36/IM-8/ Engine number CS 17511) and originally of 70cm gauge. Returned 28/6/1939 and rebuilt to 2’6″ gauge; engine converted to 12 HP. Sold 6/9/1939 to Lincoln Stone Quarries (Order No: 39/52/142). Out of use by July 1944 and sold via Thomas W Ward (plant No.64536) to Bold Venture Lime Co. Ltd, Chatburn, Clitheroe, Lancs in October 1945. s/s by 1969. (A representative picture of a 10HP (RH 166027) on ‘mines work’ – not RH 174534/36)


Locomotive information is drawn from a variety of sources, commencing with Tonks: IRTM & R&H locomotives, and supplemented by various Ruston ‘stockbooks’. The IRS has collated an Andrew Barclay stocklist