Cowans Sheldon 30-ton steam crane RS 1091

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The surviving crane at Bridgnorth

The SVRSevern Valley Railway formerly owned two 30-ton steam cranes built by Cowans Sheldon of Carlisle in 1960, RS 1091/30 and RS 1087/30 (later numbered ADM 1091/30 and ADM 1087/30 respectively). One of the two, believed to have been RS 1091, was cut up in 2010. However the surviving crane, RS 1087, is currently carrying the number ADM 1091/30.

RS 1091 in service

RS 1091/30 was built as Cowans Sheldon works number 65 of 1960,[1] one of a batch of eight such breakdown cranes. Each crane was fitted with a Spencer Hopwood boiler, working at a pressure of 150psi, which provided steam for self-propulsion and steam braking when working independently. The steam also provided the power for lifting loads up to 30 tons, using hydraulically powered control gear. 1,000 gallons of water were carried. The crane could be towed at up to 60 mph when travelling to attend breakdowns and accidents, and was vacuum braked for that purpose.[2][3]

RS 1091 was allocated to Chester West until 1977. It was later given BRBritish Rail or British Railways DepartmentalRolling stock used for the railway’s own functions (engineering etc.) rather than for general passenger or goods traffic. number ADM 1091/30.

RS 1091 in preservation

Manufacturer's plate showing Works No 60 of 1960

RS 1091 was the first of the two cranes to be acquired by the SVRSevern Valley Railway, arriving from Chester in June 1977. It was paired with a Cowans Sheldon 4-wheeled Crane Jib Runner numbered BRBritish Rail or British Railways DB 998524. The crane was first used in the construction of Bridgnorth Loco Shed and later on other civil engineering projects including the installation of the water column at Highley in 1981 and Bridgnorth Bypass Bridge, as well as being used for boiler lifts and other heavy work on the railway. RS 1087 (works number 60) arrived in August 1982, having been acquired to assist with the Bridgnorth Bypass Bridge construction although ultimately not being used for that purpose.[2]

Having been unsuccessfully advertised for sale, one of the two cranes was cut up for scrap at Bridgnorth in August 2010 with certain parts being retained for spares.[4] The running gear of the surviving crane carries the manufacturer’s plate with works number 60, suggesting that the survivor is RS 1087. However the cab carries the number ADM 1091/30.

See also

List of other rolling stock on the SVR


  1. Railway Heritage Wagon Survey
  2. 2.0 2.1 SVRSevern Valley Railway Stock Book Ninth Edition
  3. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 44
  4. SVR-Online forum 2010 thread