No. 6 Thomas Edmondson
Steam locomotive “Thomas Edmondson” arrived at the South Tynedale Railway, Alston, Cumbria in 1984. It is a 90 horse power, 0-4-0 tank locomotive, constructed to a standard World War I German Army design and was built in 1918 by Henschel & Sohn, of Kassel, Germany, works No. 16047. Amazingly, it is the only one of the 95 of its class to have survived that is still in working order!

It was restored to full working order and entered service in 1987 when it was named “Thomas Edmondson” to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the invention of the traditional style railway ticket. The locomotive was withdrawn from service at the end of 1993; its boiler certificate expired in 1994. In December 2002, the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded a grant for the restoration of “Thomas Edmondson” . All of the restoration work was to be carried out by volunteers of the railway’s engineering department at Alston with the help of specialist consultants and contractors as required. Work started in March 2003 and was completed in September 2006.
Photo: “Thomas Edmondson” on display at Alston Station in September 1997, coupled to Hudswell-Clarke diesel locomotive No.4 “Naworth”.

This is the only working locomotive of its class to have survived. During World War 1 these locomotives were used to do the heavy work of moving troops, ammunition and supplies to the front line, frequently on temporary tracks put down by army engineers.

Henschel and Sohn situated in the town of Cassel, (later known as Kassel), Germany, built the locomotive in 1918, as one of many to the standard German Army design of the period for the Tigris Kreigsbahn in Turkey at the end of the First World War. This locomotive was designated the number 125.

Destined for Turkey and use on the Baghdad Railway

The locomotive was part of a second order of locomotives for the Tigris Kreigsbahn, Turkey for work on the construction of the standard gauge Baghdad Railway. A 600 mm narrow gauge line was used during construction and it followed the whole length of the standard gauge line. The narrow gauge line was also used for military transport to the Mesopotamian front. The standard gauge line was opened in October 1918.

The Baghdad Railway ran through the Cilician Gates, the famous pass through the Taurus Mountains from the Anatolian plateau to the Cilician plains. It is the most well known way to reach Adana and it has been used since antiquity. Alexander the Great ant Saint Paul are among the most famous travellers to have crossed this highly scenic pass.

The line required a large number of tunnels; these uncompleted tunnels created big bottlenecks, hampering the transportation supplies from Anatolia to the Ottoman and German armies stationed in Mesopotamia. Tunnelling works were accelerated and in 1917, the 600mm narrow gauge track that was laid for construction purposes finally came through the tunnels. It was then used to carry war supplies using a fleet of about one hundred locomotives that were supplied by Henschel from 1916 to 1918. All of these locomotives were Bt Type 0-4-0 tank locomotives of the same type as “Thomas Edmondson”, except for five E (0-10-0) fireless locomotives. The tunnels were fully completed in 1918, a few days before the Moudros Armistice, the whole line came under British army military control.

“Thomas Edmondson” carried the Tigris Kreigsbahn locomotive number 125, being the number currently carried by the locomotive.

But not delivered to Turkey - it was sent to Spain

However Tigris Kreigsbahn locomotive number 125 was never delivered and was stored at the Field Eisenbahn in Frankfurt, Germany, until it was sold as part of a batch of twenty identical engines acquired by the Spanish Government, to the Spanish “Zapadores y Militar de Espanina” for use in the Rif campaign in Spanish Morocco, in the 1920s. It was later transferred to the Servico Militar de Ferrocarriles at Cuatro Vientos, near Madrid in Spain where it was used by military engineers of the Spanish Army for training troops during the Spanish Civil War.

War Damage and Use on Spanish Colliery Railway System

During its service with the Spanish army the locomotive sustained damage predominantly to the boiler, the damage, included what appeared to be hole in the boiler barrel that had been punched through by a heavy machine gun bullet or light shell. Other signs of military action are embedded bullets in the boiler front plate and shrapnel marks. The damage was discovered during later restoration work to the locomotive at Alston.

At the end of its military service in 1962, it was sold and for the next four years it worked on the Minas y Ferrocarril de Utrillas S.A. colliery railway system in the Terael region of Spain until its closure in 1966. However, “Thomas Edmondson” and nine other narrow gauge locomotives survived, stored in their engine shed.

The South Tynedale Railway purchased locomotive 16047 in 1984, after it had been spotted by an enthusiast holidaying in Spain and following lengthy negotiations it was delivered to Alston, however, having completed its working life in 1966, the locomotive was in need of a complete overhaul. It was restored to full working order by the society members, which included the fitting of a Polish-made steam air pump, ex-PKP (Polish State Railways), imported by the South Tynedale Railway Preservation Society, and it entered passenger service on the South Tynedale Railway on 18th July 1987.
Photo: “Thomas Edmondson next to Alston signal box, prior to hauling a passenger train to Kirkhaugh on Saturday 30th September 2006, taken by Daniel McIntyre.

On 23rd August 1987, in conjunction with the Transport Ticket Society, the locomotive was named by the Society’s Patron, the Earl of Carlisle, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the invention of the traditional-style railway ticket, after a local man who had invented the traditional railway ticketing system at Milton station (later known as Brampton) on the Newcastle to Carlisle line in 1838.

It was the lure of lead mining that brought the Newcastle to Carlisle Railway to Alston Moor and now a locomotive from the Spanish coal mines would steam the line, as the only working example of a World War 1 Kreigsbahn locomotive.

In December 1991 “Thomas Edmondson” had been taken out of service and was being prepared for its annual boiler inspection, new gauge glasses were fitted in March 1992 and it passed its cold examination. The locomotive re-entered service in May 1992. With its boiler certificate due to expire early in 1994, by April 1993 this locomotive was nearing the end of its useful life before a major overhaul was required. Although it received its boiler certificate, it was only used as a standby during 1993 which was to be its last season in service.

In order to put this locomotive back into full working order, a bid for a grant of £35,100 to the Heritage Fund of The National Lottery was prepared during 2002 and was announced that it had been successful in December 2002. The money was be used towards the cost of a full restoration project, which started in March 2003 which was carried out by the South Tynedale Railway’s engineering department.

During restoration work it was decided that some of the repairs carried out since it received war damage were a little dubious and did not meet current standards. These were therefore redone to meet current requirements.

First on the agenda was the locomotive being taken completely apart and fully inspected. During this process numerous parts were found to be in need of replacement or major repair. As would be expected with a locomotive of this age it had, during its career, been modified in certain areas and these parts have been removed and ones of the original design manufactured and put back in their place.

Boiler inspection and repair

Graham Morris (boiler designer and inspector) was commissioned to provide a report on the boiler’s condition and to recommend any necessary repairs. Major work carried out on the boiler included:-

Re-tubed boiler.
Replacement two exist existing repairs. One a weld of dubious quality on the fire box back plate just above the fire box door, which entailed the replacement of three screwed and riveted stays. The second was where a shell had hit the boiler during the war in Spanish Morocco (previously referred to above under war damage). Army engineers had carried out a repair that did not meet modern safety standards. This had to be cut out and a new patch plate made and welded into the boiler barrel.
A new main steam pipe was manufactured after the original broke in two on installation after refurbishment.
A new smoke box was manufactured.
The foundation ring needed caulking.
Safety valves were refurbished.
New wash out plugs were provided.
New fire bars were cast and fitted.

The boiler repairs were completed in May 2006 and the hydrostatic pressure test to 1.5 times working pressure (220 psi) was carried out, followed by a steam test after the boiler had been installed on the rolling chassis. As part of the steam test, safety valves are lifted and tested for correct operation (boiler operating pressure 145 psi).

Chassis and Mechanical Parts

Once the boiler had been removed from the chassis, all of the mechanical items were removed and stripped to their component parts. During this operation it was found that each spring had a different number of leaves and that the rear right hand side spring was not taking any load. This must have made for a really rough ride. Major mechanical items of work to be undertaken were:-

Manufacture of new springs.
Re-profile and machine wheel sets.
Machine piston and valve rods, straighten valve rods and make all new bearings.
Make new regulator operating rod and refurbish regulator valve.
Refurbish injectors and one clack valve and make new clack valve.
Obtain new air pump for braking system.
Make new brasses for the motion and white metal the axle boxes and machine all bearings.
Redesign and fit new crank pins and eccentric cranks.
Refurbish bent and damaged brake system.

The first item to be tackled towards a completely new rolling chassis was the sandblasting and painting of the frames. At the same time as the frames were being refurbished various parts of the motion, bearings and wheel sets were being repaired and machined. New crank pins with a better location system for the eccentric crank were designed in house and fitted. Additionally the metalling of all main axle boxes, making of brasses for the motion and various other sundry items were undertaken. Assembly of the rolling chassis commenced in Spring 2005 with the fitting of the new springs followed by the completed wheel set and axle box assemblies. Once this was completed the pistons, valves and motion were fitted and the rolling chassis was completed in December 2005.

The next step was the preliminary setting up of the valve gear and reversing gear. On completion, the boiler was mated with the rolling chassis ready for steam testing.

Due to delays in completing the boiler repairs, work commenced on installing the injectors (used for transferring water from the tanks to the boiler; they are mounted below the footplate one on each side of the locomotive). Other auxiliary equipment mounted on the rolling chassis was also installed at this time, together with the trial fitting of the side tanks.

Final Assembly

Having completed the steam test, final assembly started: first all temporary blanking plates and pipe work was removed and next came the fitting of the boiler insulation and cladding. Simultaneous with this, the main steam pipes to the cylinders and blast pipes were fitted. Once the cladding was completed, work could begin in earnest on the installation of the main water and steam pipe work to the injectors, together with other water and steam feeds. At the same time, the air reservoirs for the braking system were installed, one under the footplate and the other in the right hand (driver’s side) side bunker. Next came the fitting of the side tanks and cab back. Once the side tanks were fitted they were water tested for leaks and a couple of minor leaks were rectified. Finally, the braking system air pump and piping were installed together with various gauges, auxiliary steam piping to injectors, blower, whistle and air pump. The final assembly was completed at the end of August and test running was started on 4th September 2006. This left only the final painting to be completed which was finished on 22nd September 2006.


As built:-
Cylinders = 10 in. (254 mm) x 14 in. (356 mm).
Fitted with Walschaert’s valve gear.
Working pressure of 10 atmospheres (147 per sq. inch).
Weight = 12 tonnes empty, 14 tonnes in full working order.
Tractive effort at 60% of boiler pressure = 4,660 lbs (2,114 kg).
Length = 16 ft 6 in. (5,029 mm).
Width = 6 ft 8 in. (2,032 mm).
Overall height = 9 ft 6 in. (2,896 mm).
Wheel diameter = 2 ft 2½ in. (673mm).
Wheelbase = 5 ft 1 in. (1,550mm).

Present dimensions:-

Length = 20ft 0 in. (6,096 mm).
Width = 6 ft 8 in. (2,032 mm).
Height to top of cab = 9ft 3in. (2,819 mm).
Wheel diameter = 2ft 1in. (635 mm).
Home Steam Locomotives No. 10 Naklo No. 14 Helen Kathryn No. 16 Carlisle Barber
About the man: Thomas Edmondson

Thomas Edmondson was born in Lancaster on 30th June 1792. He served his apprenticeship as a cabinet maker and worked for the firm of Waring and Gillow of Lancaster. In 1836 he became a station clerk at Milton station, now known as Brampton on the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway. Milton wasn’t a busy station and Thomas had plenty of time to apply his craftsman’s training to the improvement of ticket issuing. He invented a ticket printing and numbering machine, which pioneered a system of fare collection in the development of the railways. The ticketing system invented by him was used, until recently, by many of the world’s railways.

An example of a typical Thomas Edmondson ticketing system can be seen at Alston station booking office, in the form tickets manufactured from small pieces of card which are issued by the South Tynedale Railway, that are of the format devised by Thomas Edmondson.
Other similar locomotives preserved:-

One hundred and thirteen of these locomotives were built and from various sources, it has been established that only fourteen remain. The only one which is in working order being No. 16047 “Thomas Edmondson”, which the South Tynedale Railway Preservation Society believes is the only working example of the Tigris Kreigsbahn Henschel 0-4-0 tank locomotive in Great Britain and Europe and probably - in the world.

The other remaining locomotives of this class which are known to exist, outside of Spain, are:-

No. 15943 of 1918 - On static display at the Haskoy Dockyard area of the Rahmi M. Koc Muzesi (museum) at Haskoy, Istanbul, Turkey. (As reported in Narrow Gauge News No. 263, July 2004 issue, published by the Narrow Gauge Railway Society).
No. 16032 of 1918 - Outside the manufacturers, Henschel, factory in Kassel, Germany. - Not in working order.
Nos. 16043, 16045 and 16073 (converted to 0-4-2 configuration) are all located in England. These may be restored at some time in the future and exhibited at a proposed museum in Aberystwyth, Wales.
No. 16062 of 1918 - At Seleck Railway Museum, Turkey. Plinthed and not in working order.

Other locomotives are reported to be privately preserved in Spain and these are not in working order. According to the Locomotive Club of Great Britain Overseas Tours booklet covering Iberia and preserved locomotives, railcars and trams of Spain and Portugal 2004 edition, it lists seven locomotives in Spain, these are:-

No. 16024 of 1918 (ex Minero Siderugica de Ponferrada S.A.) - shown as fleet No. 11, plinthed at Cabeza plano inclinado, Villaseca, in the Leon area of Castilla y Leon region, of north western Spain.
No. 16032 of 1918 (ex Minas y FC de Utrillas) - shown as fleet No. 31, as a plinthed locomotive on the N420 road (Avenida Valencia), at km 653 located opposite a police station at Utrillas, in the Teruel area of the Aragon region. But this may really be works No. 16031.
No. 16051 of 1918 - At the Military Station of San Gregorio, to the west of Zaragoza city on the Huesca road, in the Aragon region of north eastern Spain.
No. 16061 of 1918 (shown as metre gauge, ex Sociedad Industrial Asturiana Gijon) - named as “Angel del Campo” in a private garden at Riba Roja del Turia, in the Valencia region.
No. 16069 of 1918 (shown as 650 mm gauge), named as “Alemana” now carries No. 20, at the Asturian Railway Museum, located in the old RENFE terminal station at Gijon, in the Asturias region.
No. 16070 of 1918 (ex Antracitas de Gaiztarro) - At Coto Minero Sil, Ponferrada, (Columbrianos) in the Leon area of Castilla y Leon region, of north western Spain.
No. 16072 of 1918 (ex Servicio Militar de Ferrocarriles) - Although shown as an 0-6-0 tank, this may be an 0-4-0 tank, as fleet No. 150 at the Museo de la Academia Militas, in Hoyo de Manzanares, near Torrelodones, in the Madrid region.

Reference Material:-

Information on these locomotives can be found in the following sources:-

On the “Trains of Turkey” website at
On the Turkish Railways website at
In the book entitled “Spanish Narrow Gauge Remembered” by Lawrence G. Marshall. Published by Trea (Ediciones Trea, S. L.), Donoso Cortes, 7, bajo, 33204 Gijón (Asturias), Spain, in December 1999.
Photo: “Thomas Edmondson” in service at Alston Station on Monday 28th August 1989. Photograph by Daniel McIntyre.
Photo: “THOMAS EDMONDSON” soon after making its debut in service on the South Tynedale Railway in 1987. Photograph by Tom Bell.