Monday 26 January 2015

A Fowler at Nystrup Gravel

Ever since I first heard about Nystrup Gravel there have been persistent rumours about an early British built diesel loco being owned by the company. I have been digging into the binder with old documents from the gravel company and found proof that Nystrup Gravel did buy a Fowler diesel in 1933. Much indicates that it was a loco Fowler failed to sell to the company that originally ordered it.
A preserved narrow gauge Fowler at the Campbelltown Steam and Machinery Museum in Australia. From plans in the Nystrup Gravel company archive it seems that Nystrup's loco looked very much like this loco. Photo: Chris Miller, 2009.
The Fowler at Nystrup was probably meant for a customer in the tropics using Imperial measurements. The gauge on the loco was in fact 2 feet (610 mm) while Nystrup Gravel used 600 mm gauge. The Fowler was consequently slightly 'over gauged'. I have attached a document from the Nystrup Gravel archive showing that the fact was discussed with a local engineering company. They predicted that the standard of Nystrup's tracks could well accommodate a loco with 610 mm. gauge, although they advised careful running through some of the better point work. There is no indication that the loco ever derailed more than any of the company's other locos. Unfortunately there is no images of the loco in the binder from Nystrup Gravel, although an old news paper clipping shows that the arrival of a diesel loco was noticed by the local press.

In Denmark only three other Fowlers are known. Despite a lot of marketing to open up a new market in Denmark, Fowler only succeeded in selling a six coupled 700 mm gauge loco to a sugar factory in 1948 and two standard gauge shunters in 1952 to a railway in northern Jutland.

One of many adverts sent to Nystrup Gravel from Fowler to promote their products. Read about the history of John Fowler & Co, Leeds here.

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