Kearsley/Heysham Electric Locomotives

It is an interesting, though these days often forgotten fact, that industrial users were among the pioneers of electric traction in the UK with some industrial electric locomotives predating those designed for the national network [1]. Coal mines and power stations were the most typical users of these early electric locomotives including Kearsley Power Station which had this fleet of four electric locomotives built over an extended period as dictated by demand. The Kearsley locomotives operated off 500v DC overhead supply [2] and were owned by the Lancashire Electric Power Company [3].

Number built: 4
Built: 1928, 1936, 1944, 1946
Builder: Hawthorn & Leslie / Robert Stevenson & Hawthorn
Motor: 4 BTH traction motors (500v DC OHLE / battery)
Power: (First 2) 180 hp (134 kW)
(Last 2) 260 hp (193 kW)
Wheel arrangement: Bo-Bo

Following the closure of Kearsley Power Station in 1982 two locomotives were converted to battery operation [4] (with the pantograph removed and batteries fitted in the cab) and worked at Heysham Nuclear Power Station until 2009. Three of the four (locomotives 1 to 3 in fact) locomotives have been preserved.
Heysham Electric Locomotive 1

Kearsley Electric Locomotive 1

Another view of Heysham No. 1, both locos at the Electric Railway Museum

[1] R.L. Vickers, DC Electric Locomotives in the British Isles (David & Charles, 1986) p. 95
[2] Electric Railway Museum - Full Stocklist <>
[3] Michael Poulter, Industrial Railways in Colour (North West) (Irwell Press, 2009) p. 51
[4] Industrial Locomotives Handbook 13EL (Industrial Railway Society, 2003) p. 114