TWIZELL was built by Robert Stephenson & Co Ltd at their Newcastle upon Tyne works. She is an 0-6-0T with 17 x 24″ inside cylinders, 4ft diameter wheels, weighing 41 tons. She was ex-works on 17th March 1891 as Works No.2730.
As No.3, TWIZELL, she was delivered new to James Joicey & Company′s Beamish Railway in County Durham. Here, she was one of three 0-6-0T and two 0-6-0ST locos working the system, linking Beamish Air, Beamish 2nd, Beamish Mary and East Stanley Collieries. This joined the North Eastern Railway at Beamish Junction on the Pontop & South Shields branch, a distance of just under 5 miles.
She was based at Beamish Engine Works shed, which was located on the north side of the works and where all the repairs were carried out. Ownership of the system passed to the Lambton, Hetton & Joicey Collieries Ltd in November 1924. On Vesting Day on 1st January 1947, ownership of the system passed to the newly formed National Coal Board and, in that year, TWIZELL received a new boiler.
By September 1951, she had moved to the nearby Handen Hold colliery, returning to Beamish by June 1952. As she had to work over British Railways tracks at Handen Hold and Ouston Junction, she was registered by the British Transport Commission as No.1513 in 1952. She also acquired an NCB plant No.2520/69, which was painted on her front sandboxes, above her worksplates.
Following the construction of a link to Handen Hold colliery by the NCB in 1954/55, the steeply graded branch between West Pelton and Ouston Junction was closed. TWIZELL had moved back to Handen Hold colliery by March 1958, only to return to Beamish shed by July 1958. In 1960 she received a new firebox from W G Bagnall Ltd, Stafford, under their order 9094 and was retubed at Beamish, returning to Handen Hold colliery in January 1961. In February 1961, a raft of wagons ran away from the screens here and into the loco shed, pushing TWIZELL half way out of the shed end wall. In August 1961 she returned to Beamish shed, but moved back to Handen Hold shed in July 1963, when the Beamish Engine Works shed was closed.
The NCB closed the Beamish Railway in March 1966 and, after a period in storage, TWIZELL moved to Morrison Busty Colliery at Annfield Plain in Febrbuary 1968. This journey was undertaken in steam over part of the British Railways (BR) system, including descending the Waldridge incline. At Morrison Busty, she worked traffic from the colliery up to South Moor, then reversing back up to the junction with BR at Oxhill on the Beamish to Annfield Plain line. She was found by the crews here to be prone to derailment, usually the middle wheels dropping inside the rails.
With the closure of Morrison Busty looming in October 1973, she was acquired by the North of England Open Air Museum and moved to their store at Marley Hill engine shed in March 1972. Here she was joined by other engines destined for the Tanfield Railway before she moved to Beamish museum in October 1977.
At Beamish, her overhaul was commenced, but not completed and she moved back to Marley Hill engine shed in 3/1995. TWIZELL is on a long term loan to the Tanfield Railway and, following the completion of her 15-Year overhaul, entered traffic in the first half of 2010.
Photo: TWIZELL in Andrews House Station, by E.Garrod.
20 August 2017