‘Walkden’, is the honorary name given to this example of a Hunslet Austerity. The locomotive was built during World War 2, and was despatched to France to help with the war effort, given the number WD75105. The locomotive is one of only three remaining examples of the class which were sold on to NS (Netherlands State Railways), where she worked until the late 1970s in their coal industry.
Two of her sisters are in the Netherlands – the first being HC1737 – NS8811, which has been returned to steam (with a brand new boiler) at Stoom Stichting Nederland (SSN). The other is HE3165 – NS8826, which is in the Zuid Limburgse Stoomtrein Maatschappij (ZLSM) in Holland.
Before moving to the Netherlands, she was initially despatched to the army in France during 1945. Significantly altered during her time overseas, Walkden was rebuilt using many components salvaged from the former NCB site at Walkden, who maintained and repaired the NCB locos allocated to the North West Coalfields.
The loco was initially cosmetically restored for presentation at Southport, and the moved to Preston on 16th April 1999. The locomotive saw considerable activity at Preston in order to return her to working order, including boiler work, cylinder re-bores, new piston rings, a new bunker & plate work. The loco had running in trials during August 2008 and returned to service during the 2008 Santa Special Season.
After completing a number of visits to other railways on hire, Walkden returned to RSR for a 10 yearly overhaul. The locomotive has recently been re-wheeled after attention to the axleboxes, and significant attention to the boiler. It is hoped that Walkden will return to steam during 2024.