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Ruston & Hornsby 496040 at Nantymoel Nursery School in April 1990Back in my narrow gauge railway enthusiast days I obtained permission to view and photograph a diesel locomotive that had been acquired by the Nursery School at Nantymoel; the permission also included allowing photographs to be taken of it in use by the children. The loco was rescued from scrap by the headteacher at the school and it was prepared by miners at nearby Wyndham Colliery where the locomotive last worked. Christened Ivor the Engine after the popular children’s television programme of the period, the loco was used most playtimes throughout the school year.

Wyndham Colliery in the early 1980s - photograph courtesy of Phil LloydBuilt by Ruston & Hornsby in February 1963 the locomotive is a type LB No 496040 of the unusual South Wales colliery gauge of 2ft 9½in, and not being fitted with flameproof or exhaust conditioners it would never be used underground. New to Cambrian Colliery, Clydach Vale, the locomotive worked there for a few years before moving to Cwm Colliery, Llantwit Fardre sometime between 1965 and 1971. The loco was later transferred to Wyndham Colliery at Nantymoel in 1982 and used on yard duties for a short while until lying derelict and waiting to be scrapped. It was acquired about December 1983 by Nantymoel Nursery, minus its engine and gearbox and other miscellaneous operational and moving parts.

Ruston & Hornsby 496040 at Nantymoel Nursery School in April 1990Ivor was photographed by me at the Nursery in April 1990 and was subsequently reported in Narrow Gauge News of which I was editor at that time. The school’s head teacher informed me a repaint was due in the summer holiday, as you can see, it was beginning to look a little shabby. In 1996 the administration of the School passed from Mid Glamorgan County Council to the newly-formed County Borough of Bridgend so I wonder if the new authority were not willing to take on the health and safety issues with such a plaything and the locomotive removed. IRS (Industrial Railway Society) records show the locomotive had disappeared by 1999 with no further trace so presumably Nantymoel’s Ivor the Engine sadly went for scrap.

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