No. 7 - p155




    The present area Stores of the National Coal Hoard at Philadelphia, Co. Durham, stands on the site of an old Power Station built to supply electricity to the local collieries. ELECTRIC No. 1, purchased new in 1919 to shunt this Station, was a four-wheel battery electric locomotive built by Dick, Kerr & Co. Ltd. of Kilmarnock, works number 9537. Brief dimensions were as under:

Wheelbase : 9' 0"
Driving Wheels : 2' 3¾"
Weight : 27½ tons
Length : 23' 7"
Height : 11' 8"

    The locomotive was of neat proportions, having a centrally mounted cab with a door on either side, and no fewer than eight windows. The bonnets sloped away from the centre and had rounded ends jutting out some nine inches over the buffer beams, Chaldron blocks were fitted inside the usual spring buffers Under the running plate at each end were mounted triangular shaped sandboxes, and electric lamps were fitted both at the front and rear of the cab. Mechanically it was quite sound‚ apart from a tendency to break cranks, for it was a violent starter. Its running speed was rather slow.

    ELECTRIC No. 1 was kept on the most easterly road of the 1917 steam locomotive shed, but in 1919/1920 a new shed with inspection pit and battery charging facilities was built for it on the adjacent road. (This road is still known as the "electric road".) When absorbed by the Lambton, Hetton & Joicey Collieries Ltd. in 1924 ELECTRIC No.1 was included with the steam locomotive stock and renumbered 51. L. H. J. C. and 51 were painted on the bonnet sides and the livery was changed from green to unlined black. With the coming of the National Grid System, the Philadelphia power station was closed down and 51 put out of work. Later, between 1934 and 1938, it was sent to Tanfield Lea colliery on the old Joicey section of the L. H. & J. C, where it survived to be taken over by the National Coal Board in 1947, It was allotted number 40 in the stock of the Durham Division, No. 6 Area, when a renumbering scheme was drawn up in 1949. However, as 51 was scrapped in that year and replaced by a steam locomotive‚ it is most unlikely that this new number was ever carried.

    In conclusion I would like to thank Messrs. D. Comrie and G. Hutchinson of the National Coal Board, and also the late Mr. E. Curr.