No. 19 - p251

JUNE 1968




    Seaham Harbour in County Durham has long been regarded as an excellent centre for watching industrial locomotives at work, with three collieries in the town and the Seaham Harbour Dock Company as the centre of attraction. Since 1963, however, several locos of a more modern type than those hitherto used by the Dock Company were purchased from Dorman Long, and in 1967 even these were swept away with the advent of five new diesels from English Electric. A surprising survivor of this holocaust is the remarkable little loco shown above and generally regarded as the oldest working industrial loco in Britain. Built by Stephen Lewin of Poole in 1863, it has spent its whole working life at Seaham, having been part of the stock of the Londonderry, Seaham & Sunderland Railway, which, together with Seaham Docks and several collieries in the district, was owned by the Marquis of Londonderry. The North Eastern Railway took over the line on 6th October 1900, but the collieries remained the property of the Marquis, and the docks together with No.18, became the property of a new company, the Seaham Harbour Dock Company. The reason for the survival of No.18 is its unique ability to get down on to the quayside and work under the staiths, a job beyond even the diesels. If and when it finally relinquishes this duty, I was assured by the staff that it would be kept on "for sentimental reasons". I sincerely hope this is the case; "preserved on site" would be a fitting end to a great little loco.