NGG16 no. 143

No. 143, the last of the 1958 batch and the last steam loco built by Beyer Peacock, is seen below at work at Donnybrook in 1971.

Like no. 138, no. 143 was returned to steam for WHR service by the Alfred County Railway. However this loco was found to need more extensive remedial work, particularly to the boiler (seen in May 1997, looking sorry for itself).

This was dealt with in the Bury works of Riley & Son (E) Ltd. The same firm also repaired the loco's two power units, after which no. 143 was assembled at Dinas. The loco entered service at the September 1998 Enthusiasts' Weekend, carrying South African black livery, in contrast to 138's green paint scheme. The two Garratts worked several double-headed trains over the weekend, in addition to solo workings. After a little more attention in the workshops, 143 then worked most trains from early October until the end of the season.

No.143 was also active in the early part of the 1999 season, as seen below:-

143 is seen below shunting carriages at Dinas in April 2000.

And below, taking water and running round at Caernarfon during the August 2000 Bank Holiday weekend.

We present also two videoclips (MPEG format, with sound) of 143 in service the same month, courtesy of John Peduzzi:

Departure from Caernarfon (1.088 MB, 48 seconds)
Passing Pont Wernlas Ddu (1.024 MB, 46 seconds)

No. 143 worked services over Christmas and New Year at the end of 2000, when heavy snow fell in the area. Jim Comerford's photo below shows the first train on December 30th approaching Tryfan Junction over snow-covered track. This was probably not 143's first encounter with snowy conditions, as they could affect the upper end of the former Umzinto-Donnybrook line in South Africa, where the loco once worked.

No. 143 was also a regular performer in peak periods in 2001, whereas Mountaineer tended to work lighter trains.

No. 143 is seen below at Cae Moel in July 2001. The loco has the capacity to haul much heavier loads than the six carriages seen here.

Occasionally, maintenance of a Garratt requires separating one or both power units from the boiler frame; Alyn Ashworth's photos below show views of no. 143 not often seen, during maintenance in December 2002.

Laurence Armstrong's pictures below show details of no. 143 at the reassembly stage in February 2003. The left-hand picture shows the front power unit hinge point, located between the second and third driving axles, with its cover removed. Rather than a plain pivot as found on K1, this is Beyer Peacock's patent design which takes up wear through an ingenious combination of fixed and floating baseplates, plus four floating semi-circular sections forming the sides of the socket; the one at the right of the picture, which is always under load, is adjustable to take up wear. The "pin" fitting into this socket is about 14" in diameter, located under the smokebox on the boiler frame, and can be seen in the left-hand picture above. These locos do not have the self-adjusting pivot design used by Beyer Peacock on new Beyer-Garratt designs from 1949 onwards. The right-hand picture below shows the firebox with its renewed wall of refractory cement freshly cast around the base of the firebox, prior to removal of the shuttering, and tidying up.

No. 143's Winter 2002-3 maintenance also included the fabrication and fitting of a new main steam pipe - on an NGG16 this is a much larger and more complex component than such a simple name suggests.

143 was taken out of service for attention after the end of the all-steam two train part of the 2006 season, with the front power unit being stripped down to be taken to Boston Lodge. The water and oil tanks are seen below in Dinas North Yard, and the loco itself is seen in the loco shed..

The front power unit is seen below at Boston Lodge in mid-November 2006. The cylinders had been rebored, and the wheelsets awaited turning.

The overhauled power unit was moved back to Dinas on March 26th 2007, and in the following days was shunted into the loco shed for plumbing work prior to being reunited with the rest of the loco.

The water and oil tanks were craned back into place on May 1st 2007, and the loco was steam tested the next day. The numberplates have been painted in a different (but just as authentic) style from that seen before.

After running shuttles at the Rail Ale festival, 143 re-entered full service later in May 2007.

143 is giving the first demonstration of the interchangeability of the major components of these standardised locos. Following a failure, the loco re-entered Summer 2008 traffic with the rear power unit from no. 138, which is out of service for boiler work, and had a heavy rear unit overhaul in Winter 2003-4. This has led to some lateral thinking about how to identify the loco...

The swap did not mean no. 143 would run in a mix of liveries; no. 138's rear unit was noted being painted gloss black on July 1st 2008.

The spliced loco made its first public appearance on July 9th 2008.

No. 143 is seen below shunting at Dinas after working its turn of duty on July 13th 2008; the lower top to the oil bunker makes the rear unit swap apparent. No. 143's own rear unit was standing outside the Goods Shed; its bunker had been lifted off, and was keeping no. 138's cab company.

In late September 2008 no. 143's rear power unit frames were up on jacks in the loco shed, with many components stripped down. Two wheelsets were sent away for assessment and repair, including the wheelset with the damaged crankpin.

No. 143 is pictured below heading for Rhyd Ddu with the last train of 2008.

No.143's boiler ticket expired in early 2010 and so the loco saw its last turns of duty on the Santa and New Year train services during the winter of 2009/2010. The stripping down process started immediately after this. By mid February the boiler had been removed from the frames and was later sent to Peter Waterman's works in Crew for attention. In the meantime the boiler from No. 140 had been overhauled and was to be used with No. 143. This saw the boiler fitted to 143 cradle in April 2010.

All the parts of the loco were eventually moved to Boston Lodge where work continued throughout 2010 and into 2011. 143's tanks and bunker had just about been kept serviceable during the last couple of years of use so it was no surprise that both were condemned during the overhaul. There was a hope to use 140's bunker but after examination even this was found not to be fit for use. Replacements were duly manufactured with the bunker being built at Boston Lodge and the tank being built by Brunswick Ironworks. The photographs below show the state of the overhaul in March 2011 with the power units still needing assembling, the tank and bunker construction being finished off and pipework being fitted to the boiler unit. 

143's rear engine unit at Boston Lodge. (Photo: L.Armstrong)143's front engine unit at Boston Lodge. (Photo: L.Armstrong)The new front tank for 143 at Boston Lodge. (Photo: L.Armstrong)The 'business end' of the new bunker. (Photo: L.Armstrong)143's boiler. (Photo: L.Armstrong)

By the 28th May all the tanks had been painted and had been fitted to the engine units and those in turn reunited with the boiler and cradle. The final fitting out was taking place and  as can be seen from the photos below, it was thought to be only a few weeks away from being steamed. The last photo shows the loco now converted to coal and shows the last few bits of fitting-out needed in the cab. 

NGG16 No143 in Boston Lodge. (Photo: L.Armstrong)NGG16 No143 in Boston Lodge. (Photo: L.Armstrong)NGG16 No143 in Boston Lodge. (Photo: L.Armstrong)The inside of No143's cab. (Photo: L.Armstrong)

On the 11th June No.143, resplendent in it's new grean livery, was rolled out of works and into the sunlight for the first time. The loco was lit with a small wood fire in order to harden the brick arch before running in trials in a few days’ time. The loco is expected to enter service before the end of June. 

NGG16 No143 outside Boston Lodge work with light wiff of smoke from the chimney indicating that it's being warmed up. (Photo: A. Thomas/FR)NGG16 No143 outside Boston Lodge works. (Photo: A. Thomas/FR)NGG16 No143 outside Boston Lodge works. (Photo: A. Thomas/FR)NGG16 No143 outside Boston Lodge works. (Photo: A. Thomas/FR)NGG16 No143 outside Boston Lodge works. (Photo: A. Thomas/FR)

21st June 2011. Beyer Garratt 143 began its running-in trials this morning after its major rebuild.  It is expected to enter traffic before the end of June.
Pictures by Andrew Thomas and Chris Parry
NG/G16 Number 143 at Harbour Station on its first running-in turn. Pic: Andrew ThomasNG/G16 Number 143 heads across Britannia Bridge onto the Welsh Highland on its first running-in turn. Pic: Chris Parry

8th July 2011.  No 143 was noted at Beddgelert on a further test run from Boston Lodge to Rhyd Ddu and back.  Picture by Laurence Armstrong
143 on test at Beddgelert - Laurence Armstrong

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Authored by Ben Fisher; this page last updated July 9th, 2011 by David Tidy