Chatham Historic Dockyard Railway
Diesel Locomotives

Chatham Dockyard acquired its first internal combustion locomotive in 1904, this being a 2-4-0 paraffin locomotive built by R. Hornsby & Sons at their Grantham works in 1903. The locomotive [Works No.7226] was acquired new for the narrow gauge [18in] railway system and named ALECTO. Arriving at Chatham in January 1904, it only ran for a short period before being transferred to the Royal Arsenal Railway at Woolwich.

The first standard gauge diesel locomotive at Chatham was a 0-4-0DE built by W. G. Armstrong, Whitworth & Co.in 1933, the locomotive [Works No.D23] arrived at Chatham in 1934 and was named WALMER CASTLE. It ran at the dockyard until being scrapped in 1966.

In the early 1950's the Admiralty decided to replace their ageing steam locomotive fleet with new diesel locomotives. 6 4wDM locomotives were built by F.C.Hibberd & Co.Ltd. at their Park Royal Works, London. in 1955. In keeping with Chatham tradition, the new diesels were named after Kentish Castles. These being;

  • Works No.3738. ROCHESTER CASTLE
  • Works No.3742. UPNOR CASTLE
  • Works No.3745. LEEDS CASTLE
  • Works No.3770. DOVER CASTLE
  • Works No.3771. COOLING CASTLE
  • Works No.3772. DEAL CASTLE

These locomotives ran at Chatham until the closure of the Dockyard in 1984. One locomotive, ROCHESTER CASTLE, still resides at the Historic Dockyard and is kept in working order. In addition to the Hibberd locomotives, 2 locomotives built by the Hunslet Engine Co. Ltd. were also obtained. These being;

  • Works No.2076, built in 1940 for Sheerness Dockyard, was transferred to Chatham in 1959 and named CHILHAM CASTLE.
    It ran at Chatham until being scrapped in 1969.
  • Works No.6975, was delivered new to Chatham in 1968 and named ALLINGTON CASTLE.
    It ran at Chatham until the closure of the dockyard in 1984. After the closure of the dockyard the locomotive was placed in store for a short period before being transferred to the new commercial docks which opened on the site of No.3 basin. With the reduction of railborne traffic from the commercial docks, the locomotive was declared surplus to requirements and sold. The locomotive was moved to the British Nuclear Fuels site at Sellafield, Cumbria.

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