No. 17 - pp184-185




    As has been recorded elsewhere the last shunting horse employed by British railways ceased work at Newmarket on 21st February 1967. With the demise of "Charlie" it would be interesting to know how many industrial railways are still horse-worked, and if the information is forthcoming from readers we will publish a list in a future issue.

    The first picture, unfortunately not too sharp in the background, was taken at Lee Wood, Heptonstall, about 1910 and is reproduced by courtesy of Harry Hopwood (via H.D Bowtell). A team of at least eleven horses is hauling what appears to be a Bagnall loco from Hebden Bridge Railway Station to "Dawson City". Here it was to be used by contractor Enoch Tempest on his 3ft 0in gauge railway to the Walshaw Dean waterworks of Halifax Corporation, then under construction. It is reported that the family firm of Hopwood took up fourteen of the fifteen locos used at Walshaw Dean, the journey often undertaken on a Saturday afternoon when as many as sixteen horses could be mobilised. The road from Hebden Bridge is rather steep and in its 300ft ascent rounds two hairpins. (A somewhat brief article on Enoch Tempest and his locomotives, lacking in some particulars, appeared in the January 1967 issue of the "Railway Magazine"; a full description by H.D. Bowtell had appeared earlier in the October 1957 issue of the "SLS Journal".)

    The second photograph, taken about five or six years later, is from my own collection. Wounded Canadian soldiers are being brought back from the front line in France, and the very light track suggests that this line was not traversed by locomotives. The horse seems to be exceptionally well groomed. The last picture was taken by Chris Down on 26th August 1965 and shows a "60cm" horse called "Mignon" at a brickworks at Ascq, near Lille, in northern France. Chris thinks it was the "Briquetterie du Nord" but says that it was very difficult to find out any precise information as the works was staffed by Spaniards whose French was as bad as his own!