Other Uses

Greg Wetzel

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I recently bought a book called "Railway Oddities" by Geoffery Body, and there's a chapter on traction. In this chapter, there's a section that briefly talks about other uses for locomotives. Off the top of my head, a locomotive is said to have been used to tow a vessel on the Forth and Clyde Canal. Another mentioned is about an 0-4-0T being used to operate a winding drum. Which got me thinking...what other, strange but true, things have locomotives (both steam and diesel) been used for?
 
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Ken H

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Wasnt there an idea to use diesel electric locos at Toton to supply power to the grid? During some previous energy crisis.
 

Magdalia

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There's two known examples of diesel electric locos being used as exciters at CEGB power stations while the power station's own equipment was under repair.

These are D54 at Willington in 1968 and 47155 at West Thurrock in 1976.
 

ANDREW_D_WEBB

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a locomotive is said to have been used to tow a vessel on the Forth and Clyde Canal
The Panama Canal uses locos alongside some of the locks to help ships enter and egress.

The Hells Kitchen in Castlerea in County Roscommon, Ireland, has a loco as part of the pub.

Numerous locos have ended up plinthed in parks as play things, although health and safety plus the growing preservation movement have seen many of these restored to use as locos.

Three class 25s were used to provide electric train heat on charter trains (dubbed 'ETHELs')
 

SargeNpton

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The Panama Canal uses locos alongside some of the locks to help ships enter and egress.

The Hells Kitchen in Castlerea in County Roscommon, Ireland, has a loco as part of the pub.

Numerous locos have ended up plinthed in parks as play things, although health and safety plus the growing preservation movement have seen many of these restored to use as locos.

Three class 25s were used to provide electric train heat on charter trains (dubbed 'ETHELs')
ETHELS were originally used for Sleepers, with charter trains being a little bit of extra work. The acronym being Eletric Train Heating Ex-Locomotives.
 
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The Great Northern Railway (Ireland)'s oddball MaK 0-8-0 diesel-hydraulic number 800 (later CIÉ K801) ended up powering a car crusher at the Galway Metal Company in Oranmore, although I believe it didn't last long in that role before its engine seized up.

As regards converting locos (steam and diesel) to carriage heaters, there was a thread here some time ago that covered steam locos (including ones that ended up as grounded boilers) and the converted class 15s as well as the ETHELs: https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/ex-locos-as-carriage-heaters.229116/
 

Harvester

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The last NER steam loco in BR stock K1 62005, was hired by ICI to act as a stationary boiler at it’s Port Clarence site between December 1967 and February 1968. Coal and pure water (to avoid boiler washouts) was delivered by road, and West Hartlepool depot supplied a rota of firemen to do the firing.
 

randyrippley

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During one of the miners strikes (possibly 3-day week) one of the Blue Pullman power cars became a portable generator at Temple Meads
 

SouthernR

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The Montech water slope on the Canal de Garonne (SW France) uses a pair of diesel locomotives to drive a vertical gate up and down an inclined trough. This raises and lowers a wedge of water.
 

D821

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Two 508s are used for training emergency services.
508212 (Fire Service Collage, Long Marston) and another at Seacombe, Wirral (which I believe is an ex-southern unit, ironically, given how close it is to Merseyrail).
 

Railsigns

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A good number of withdrawn steam locomotives in New Zealand were used as barriers to prevent erosion of riverbanks.

Some stations such as Budapest Déli have, or had, locomotives stranded behind the buffer stops, which I'm guessing was to provide shore supplies.
 

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Rescars

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IIRC the steam engines in the two ships lost in the 1845 Franklin expedition to the Arctic (HMS Erebus and HMS Terror) were salvaged from London and Greenwich locomotives.
 

Roger1973

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Happened to look at the Middleton Press 'London to Dartford' book a day or two ago - it includes a photo of ex LBSCR H2 class 32425 in use as a temporary static boiler at Slade Green Depot in 1957.

There's a primary school in SE London which has an Underground D-stock car.
 

Gloster

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Early in World War II a number of Southern Railway locos were placed over ash pits in shed areas and used as temporary air-raid shelters. This was in south-east London and possibly elsewhere.
 

D6968

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73050 was used as a stationary boiler at British Sugar Corporation’s factory in Peterborough sometime in the 1970’s.
 

ANDREW_D_WEBB

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Happened to look at the Middleton Press 'London to Dartford' book a day or two ago - it includes a photo of ex LBSCR H2 class 32425 in use as a temporary static boiler at Slade Green Depot in 1957.

There's a primary school in SE London which has an Underground D-stock car.
That will be Coopers Lane, the school has a nice video about it on their website: https://www.cooperslane.lewisham.sch.uk/the-story-of-our-tube-train/

Also in south east London, Woolwich UTC has a C stock car in use as a classroom.

I have a vague recollection that a school bought a Pacer to use as a library?

Several Pacers and Mk3 carriages have found use as classrooms across the country. This is of course moving slightly off the topic title, which is locos with other uses.
 

SargeNpton

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As a mass exercise, I think this is the record...

"Over 2,500 New York subway cars have been used to create an underwater reef for crustaceans and fish in the Atlantic."

 
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The yellow, blue and red steam engine on the left is in the grounds of a kindergarten in Ljubljana, Slovenia. It must be used for something, play or educational, for how much it would have cost to install? Do they have Thomas the Tank Engine in Slovenia?
 

Strathclyder

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There's two known examples of diesel electric locos being used as exciters at CEGB power stations while the power station's own equipment was under repair.

These are D54 at Willington in 1968 and 47155 at West Thurrock in 1976.
47155 being transported from Stratford to West Thurrock on 9th January 1976 (image copyright of Flickr's George Woods); it was there until April that year. Apparently the '1240' in the headcode box was representing the output in HP of the 47's main generator.

 

Strathclyder

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40046 was used by the MOD at Morton on Lugg
Along with a rake of condemned Mk1s, no doubt to form a complete 'train' for the MOD to practice on.


(40046 at Moreton-on-Lugg - 19th September 1984. Photo copyright of Flickr's Jamerail)
 
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Harvester

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In July 1984 Peak 46009 was used (only once) on the Old Dalby Test Track, to test the survivability of a nuclear waste flask in a collision.
 

Ken H

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In July 1984 Peak 46009 was used (only once) on the Old Dalby Test Track, to test the survivability of a nuclear waste flask in a collision.
Movie here -

Would passengers in any of the carriages survived if this was a 'real' crash?
 

contrex

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The Montech water slope on the Canal de Garonne (SW France) uses a pair of diesel locomotives to drive a vertical gate up and down an inclined trough. This raises and lowers a wedge of water.
They look very odd. Single ended, fixed to the gate, the link connecting them spanning the waterway, and running on pneumatic tyres on a concrete surface. I wonder if they were built specially?
 

341o2

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The filming of The Virgin Soldiers by Leslie Thomas involved a train crash and the destruction of a Stanier Black Five

Concerning EMU's 3CIG Farringford was initially destined for preservation on the Epping - Ongar railway, but ended up in Ireland converted to camping coaches

35029 has been "preserved" but cut in half to show how a steam locomotive works
 

Harvester

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The filming of The Virgin Soldiers by Leslie Thomas involved a train crash and the destruction of a Stanier Black Five
It was 44781 which had worked the Fifteen Guineas Special with 44871 only six months earlier. A waste of an historic engine which was in decent working order.
 

Magdalia

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The filming of The Virgin Soldiers by Leslie Thomas involved a train crash and the destruction of a Stanier Black Five
The filming was done near Bartlow and the Disused Stations website has a big feature, which includes addressing many myths about what actually happened.


This feature has been prepared primarily to describe the 'train wreck' scene in The Virgin Soldiers, shot during 1968 on the former Saffron Walden branch at Bartlow on the Cambridgeshire/Essex border, while it is also hoped to dispel a number of myths which surround the railway scenes in the film, both at Bartlow and across the globe in Malaysia.
 

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