Purchase of Crane Nr 2

Crane Nr 2 Sits out the Workshop
Crane Nr 2 Sits out the Workshop
Credit: Andy Deamer, 27/06/2003

For nearly a decade the former Great Western Railway No. 2 steam breakdown crane has been a prominent but shabby landmark at Cranmore. Following agreement with the owner, it is now anticipated that restoration can begin during 2005 with the intention of restoring the crane to working order by its centenary year, 2008.

The crane was one of two built for the GWR during 1908 with a designed lifitng capacity of 36 tons. The Number 2 crane, built by Ransomes and Rapier Ltd. of Ipswich, entered traffic a few months ahead of the Number 3 crane, which was bult by Stothert & Pitt Ltd. of Bath. At the time it entered service, the GWR No. 2 crane was the largest capacity and the most modern steam breakdown crane anywhere in Britain, and it became the prototype for virtually all subsequent cranes built by any British company. The crane was allocated from new to the Central Workshops Authority at Swindon Works, and was always regarded as the best crane on the GWR. Although designed primarily as a breakdown crane, it was more frequently used on civil engineering works such as bridge renewal.

Sold straight out of traffic from Swindon to the Dart Valley Railway in 1976, the crane saw a further 13 years use in Devon before making its last lift, which was actually back on B.R. metals at Goodrington, on 13th August 1989. The crane was then sold again, and has stood out of use and partly dismantled ever since, initially back at Swindon and then at Cranmore.

Although substantially complete, extensive boiler work will be needed, as well as a motion overhaul, axlebox overhaul, the replacement of all wire ropes, and a full repaint. In addition to the normal examinations required for steam boilers, a full examination and lifting test and re-certification will also be needed before it is once again operational.

For more information on the crane, please click here to visit our stock page.

News item added on 4th February 2005, by GM

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