0-4-0 IN GAUGE 1 (45mm)

By Julius de Waal

The Hunslet Engine Company of Hunslet, Leeds, built steam locomotives from 1864 to 1971. It is now part of the LH Group and is again involved in building new steam locos, including Hunslet saddle tank NG engines. Many Hunslets are preserved on narrow gauge railways around the UK, and overseas, and are popular subjects for model engineering projects.

In 1870, Hunslet constructed the narrow gauge engine, Dinorwic, a diminutive 1 ft 10 3⁄4 in (578 mm) gauge 0-4-0 saddle tank for the Dinorwic Slate Quarry at Llanberis. This engine, later renamed Charlie, was the first of 20 engines built for this quarry and did much to help establish Hunslet.  This quarry was linked to Port Dinorwic by a 4 ft gauge line for which Hunslet built three 0-6-0T engines Dinorwic, Padarn and Velinheli. Much larger than the normal quarry type, 1 ft 10 3⁄4 in gauge 0-4-0ST engines Charles, Blanche and Linda were built in 1882/3 for use on the Penrhyn Quarry Railway 'main line' between Bethesda and Port Penrhyn in North Wales.

Cloister is one of the celebrated tough and attractive Quarry Hunslets. She was named after the winner of the 1893 Grand National. Her job was shunting slate wagons on galleries halfway up a mountain and survived doing that until 1962 when sold to Mr. R.C.U. Corbett who later donated her to the the Hampshire Narrow Gauge Railway Society.

Cloister saw a few years use after 1969 but boiler problems resulted in withdrawal and an extensive overhaul over a long period, first at the Moors Valley Railway near Ringwood and later at Kew Bridge, where a new boiler was made. After returning to service in 1998, she paid several popular visits to other railways.

In 2009 Cloister moved to Amberley Museum, Sussex,  remaining there until 2012. After a major overhaul including a new tank, Cloister can now be found at the Purbeck Mineral & Mining Museum near Wareham, Dorset.

Julius de Waal’s drawings of Cloister are for a Gauge 1 (45mm) gas-fired model. Drawings can be downloaded - for personal use only. Click on drawing to download.

Cloister in Minffordd Yard, 2000. Photo by Ben Fisher.