The Churnet Valley Railway is delighted to announce that United States of American Transportation Corps Locomotive S160 no. 6046 has finally returned to its home base at Cheddleton after 16 months out of service.
Whilst on hire to the Nene Valley Railway in 2014, the locomotive suffered a catastrophic failure that led to the locomotive requiring a replacement cylinder block. These repairs were subject to an insurance claim, which itself became protracted, but with the Churnet Valley workshops already full with other locomotive overhauls, the line was not able to carry out the repairs themselves.
Consequently the locomotive was sent to Tyseley Locomotive works in Birmingham, where the cylinder block was replaced under the guidance of Bob Meanley and his trusted engineering team. The replacement cylinder block required fully overhauling first, after which the major components on 6046 were dismantled to allow its broken block to be removed and the replacement to be fitted.
With the locomotive now returned to Cheddleton, re-assembly is currently underway ready to have the locomotive ready to take a starring role in the return of the CVR's traditional Winter Steam Gala in February - with 6046 booked to operate two return trips to Ipstones each day. Running-in is expected to commence within the coming weeks, after which once she has completed her role in the Winter Steam Gala the locomotive will formally re-enter service on the CVR.
The S160 class of locomotive was the USA standard war department locomotive, being a cheap yet powerful locomotive provided for hauling military traffic across Europe in the days following the D-Day landings. A number came to Britain first from 1943 onwards, to help with the overworked fleet already in service but these examples soon moved abroad to help transport goods around the claimed territory.
6046 herself went straight to France, from where she ended up in Hungary. She was eventually preserved, but then an administration error sent her for scrap. Fortunately a British pilot saw her and managed to save her, bringing her to the UK where she co-incidentally was sent to Tyseley to await restoration. From here she was later sold to Greg Wilson, who had the locomotive restored at the Churnet Valley with her most moves in preservation being made in 2012.