Walkden goes back to war at Preston

Posted on - 26th June, 2014 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Ashton-on-Ribble, Nostalgia, Things to Do in and around Preston, What's On in Preston
Walkden at the Ribble Steam Railway

Walkden at the Ribble Steam Railway

A war time relic returned to its World War II appearance at Preston for Armed Forces Day.


The Ribble Steam Railway (RSR) will bring Walkden, one of its most popular steam locomotives, to its wartime identity.

As part of the Armed Forces Day celebrations on 28 June 2014 the locomotive will be kitted out in its former identity just for the weekend, after which its nameplates will be reapplied and it will return to normal.

Walkden was built for the War Department by Hunslet of Leeds and was used to move munitions and supplies during World War II during 1944. In early 1945 it was shipped to France to help with the Allied advance.

After the war the locomotive continued to help rebuild war-ravaged areas before being sold to the Dutch state railways for use in the coal industry.

It was finally withdrawn in the late 1970s and came back to England in the 1980s and the lengthy process of restoration started.

Parts from the National Coal Board’s workshops in Walkden, after which the engine was named, were used in repairs. It returned to steam in 2008 and has been a popular performer on at the RSR in Preston ever since.

RSR Chairman and owner of Walkden, Dave Watkins, said: “Thanks to the railways at home and abroad, the necessary troops, arms and supplies could be moved quickly to the places they were needed, and it is no exaggeration to say that engines like this played a significant part in winning the war.

“This engine is presently the oldest working member of the class to wear wartime colours, and in its return to its World War II appearance it will act as a fitting tribute to the thousands of railwaymen that fought in the conflict.”

For more information have a look at the RSR website, or e-mail at

The Ribble Steam Railway is one of Preston’s and Lancashire’s top family attractions. It has been running steam trains around the old Albert Edward Dock since 2005.

It houses one of the largest collections of industrial locomotives in Britain, many of which are on display in the large indoor Museum.

Tel: 01772 728800
Ribble Steam Railway
Chain Caul Road

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