New lease of life for 100-year-old locomotive from Buxton quarry

A 100-year-old steam locomotive that was based at Tarmac’s Tunstead quarry has undergone a major refurbishment.

Friday, 20th December 2019, 5:00 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd December 2019, 11:36 am

The bright yellow 23 tonne locomotive, known as the Clockwork Lemon, was given a VIP welcome at the quarry to celebrate its refurbishment.

Built nearly 100 years ago, the ‘RS8’ locomotive carried out ‘many years of hard work in the quarry’, firstly as a steam locomotive before later being converted to run on diesel in 1959.

After retiring in 1972, the RS8 sadly went into disrepair through neglect and vandalism, until local loco experts, the Briddon family of Darley Dale rescued it in 2016.

The locomotive had fallen into 'disrepair due to vandalism and neglect'.
The locomotive had fallen into 'disrepair due to vandalism and neglect'.

Partnering with Tarmac, the Briddon family then set about the long, arduous and complex task of bringing the RS8 back to life with a running diesel engine. As well as the team of locomotive enthusiasts, Tarmac’s own mechanical apprentices, fitters and welders were also involved in the restoration – which included a strip down to the bare chassis and painstaking rebuild, retaining much of the original material.

The project finished earlier this year and at the beginning of the month, the revamped Clockwork Lemon was unveiled at the railway sidings at Tarmac’s Tunstead Quarry.

There to welcome the loco back to its original home were the restoration team, along with many other people who had been involved with it throughout its life, including members of the team who had worked on the conversion of the RS8 from steam to diesel in 1959. And one of those there on the day was 96-year-old Derek Burton.

Derek said: “I saw the RS8 last when it was in a real state of neglect over 12 years ago. I feel elated to be seeing it again. It’s wonderful and a great concept to do the restoration. I want to thank Pete Briddon and family and Tarmac Tunstead who have kindly picked it up.”

Reg Gartside, Jack Nuttall, Derek Burton, John Hutchinson and Roy Jeffreys with the Clockwork Lemon

Pete Briddon added: “It has been a great pleasure to bring this loco back to life and the support from Tarmac has been superb”.

The bright yellow locomotive has been restored back to its former glory.