Locomotive number 4422 was constructed at Derby Locomotive Works for the London Midland & Scottish Railway Company to a design by Sir Henry Fowler. Originally developed for the Midland Railway Company members of this class were designated as Superheater Freight Engines and carried a power classification of 4F. 4422 was one of 772 machines produced from 1911 onwards and reached completion on 7th October 1927 at a book cost of £3217 plus tender at £1000. First allocation was to Leicester shed on 26th October 1927 with subsequent transfer to Wigston in January of 1929.
Moving to Bristol in 1940 and then Bath (Green Park) in 1948, 4422 spent the rest of its working life in South West England. The locomotive became a British Railways asset after nationalisation in 1948 and was subsequently renumbered during the week ending 10th June 1950 and thus became 44422. While in the South West 44422 found frequent work on the Somerset and Dorset lines and is depicted in many collections piloting West Country pacifics or Standard Class 9’s across the Mendip Hills on holiday special duties.
Surviving the steam cull of the 1960’s, this is one of four 4F engines in preservation but is unique in being the sole left hand drive example. Tablet gear was fitted during its life on the Somerset and Dorset lines.
In Spring of 1953 44422 was taken to Horwich Works for what was to be its final overhaul in B.R. ownership and, after some running in work in the North, it returned to its South Western home. It was from Gloucester shed that 44422 was finally withdrawn from service in June 1965 and quickly moved to Messers Woodham’s scrapyard at Barry Island in South Wales. Here it languished for some 11 years and 8 months before a team of preservationists from the (then) North Staffordshire Railway Society raised £4860 to buy it for restoration at Cheddleton. Thus 44422 became the 87th of 212 steam locomotives to leave Barry Scrapyard and escape the cutting torch to run again on the Churnet Valley Railway. A suitable tender had already been obtained from Bescot Locomotive Depot for the sum of £1000, exactly the same amount as a similar tender had cost some 48 years previously! The 4F was transferred by road to Cheddleton in April 1977 and the long haul to restoration began, steaming taking place during September 1990.
Currently being updated 7th Jan 2016