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The rolling stock that gathered steel.

IT is possible that few people outside the industry realised that Dorman Long and later British Steel had their own private railway system and their own locomotives. This consisted not of just a few lengths of track a couple of steam engines, it was an entire network with miles of track and many locomotives and wagons. These were used for shunting the wagons, full of molten iron, slag or any number of heavy items that needed to be taken from one works to another. There was even a special locomotive complete with a smart carriage for taking the chairman of Dorman Long around the works. Tom Lynas, now living in Eston, has provided a wealth of photographs of these railway engines and he tells us briefly about his time working with the locomotives for the steel industry on Teesside: Before joining the steel industry I had a seven-year spell working with LNER and then British Rail from 1944 to 1951, working passenger trains and mineral goods trains.

I spent the following 18 months in West Riding Constabulary before joining Dorman Long in 1952 as a locomotive shunter on work associated with the Bessemer furnaces.

By 1958 I had become a shift supervisor, or traffic foreman as it was called then, and as Clay Lane furnaces came on stream, I covered the Clay Lane and Bessemer furnace work. In 1961 I became day foreman covering all the foremen at Bessemer, South Steel Plant, North Steel Plant as well as Clay Lane.

This meant supervising 24 shift foremen in total with all the associated work, demonstrating what a huge operation even one part of Dorman Long actually was.

By 1964 I was assistant traffic manager with responsibility for all rail traffic in that area. My job was to ensure all traffic requirements for that area were met, which included working with the unions trying to give a better service. When it became clear the Redcar Blast furnace would soon be in operation it was obvious that bigger locos would be required. These larger railway engines were needed to handle the heavy wagons, which were called "torpedoes" for carrying the molten steel from Redcar to the BOS plant.

An order was placed for 25 GEC 650 HP locos at GEC, Newton Le Willows. To ensure that they were built in time a locomotive engineer and I would travel every two weeks to monitor progress and iron out any problems. I also worked as acting traffic manager on occasions and had a short spell as transport development manager before the reduction in steel requirement when I reverted to assistant traffic manager before taking early retirement in 1984.


.A view of Lackenby works from Cleveland Works showing diesel locomotive and 'torpedoes' working between Clay Lane furnces and BOS Plant, Concast, Plate Mill and No2 Primary Mill .One of the few dated photographs in the collection, this shows No 114 'Airedale' on the high gantry for feeding ores into the bunkers for the blast furnaces at Cleveland South Works in September 1955 .Above left -No 112 'Cyclops', used for taking the chairman and other VIPs around the site as well as being used as an ambulance and for taking staff wages as there were no roads .Above -A GEC 650 HP Diesel electric locomotive taking iron from Clay Lane furnaces to BOS plant. .Left -Diesel locomotive No 243 which was used for transferring iron from Clay Lane furnaces to BOS plant. .Right - Locomotive No.136 'Saltburn' .Steam locomotive No. 183 'William Jones', left, and 'John Bird', right, used for moving ladles of iron from Bessemer furnaces to North or South Steel plants and taking slag from Bessemer and Steel Plant to the slag tips
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Sep 18, 2010
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