Dead Industrial, Horwich Loco Works

Author sophos9 - Last updated: 06.05.2010

Was out early this morning so I could get back and have the day with the missus ( Bank Holiday n all that ) so it was only meant as a bit of a see what you can find morning. Now I knew this place was here but I didn’t know which bits were still operational and what was actually in there , soon found out though, and on a Bank Holiday as well!!! Anyway 5.30am stealthily as could be I’m scaling the fence to be greeted with ” Can I help You”……oh no!! Anyway I turn round to see some Scroate stripping all the copper n stuff so I replied “Seems like your helpin yourself mate” ( I had 3 shredded wheat this morning ) and carried on my way.
The place used to build Locomotives hence the name, I’ll let Wiki tell you the rest

The first locomotive to built by the LYR at Horwich works was a 2-4-2 tank engine designed by John Aspinall. This locomotive was LYR No. 1008 which is now preserved at the National Railway Museum. By 1899 a further 677 locomotives had been built, and another 220 under Henry Hoy. Between 1891 and 1900, 230 0-6-0 tender engines designed by Barton Wright were rebuilt at Horwich as 0-6-0ST saddle tanks as LYR Class F16.
In 1899, the Aspinall-designed ‘Atlantic’ 4-4-2 express passenger locomotive was introduced and forty had been completed by 1902. Horwich works produced its thousandth engine in 1907, a four cylinder compound 0-8-0.

Takeover and activity under LMS ownership-

In 1923 when the railway became part of the LMS, its Chief Mechanical Engineer was George Hughes who remained at Horwich. In 1926 he was responsible for the design of a 2-6-0 mixed traffic locomotive which had an unusual appearance for the time, which became known as the “Horwich Crab.” The class proved to be extremely successful, with 245 engines being built, 70 of them at Horwich, including the first 30 examples. The “Crabs” continued in service with British Railways London Midland and Scottish Regions until the last two survivors were withdawn in early 1967.
Three of the four future Chief Mechanical Engineers of the post-grouping railways learned their craft at Horwich: Nigel Gresley, Henry Fowler and Richard Maunsell, as well as aviator Alliott Verdon-Roe who went on to found the Manchester-based Avro aeroplane company.
During World War II, the works built nearly 500 Cruiser, Centaur and Matilda tanks.

Nationalisation and closure-

LMS Stanier Class 5 4-6-0 M4751 with Caprotti gear at Manchester London Road on 27 March 1948, 14 days after completion at Horwich.
LMS Ivatt 4MT 2-6-0 M3009 (later 43009) with double chimney, shortly after completion at Horwich in 1948
After the nationalisation of 1948, locomotive construction at Horwich continued at a high level for another ten years. During that year twenty new LMS Ivatt Class 4 tender engines were completed. Another twenty-seven examples followed in 1949, with twenty-four in 1951, followed by a single final example in early 1952.
120 LMS Stanier Class 5 4-6-0 tender engines were also built at Horwich by the LMS (53 locos) and British Railways (67 locos) between 1945 and 1950. The last BR Standard design steam engine to be built at Horwich was outshopped in 1957.
BR continued to overhaul steam engines at Horwich for several more years. The last steam locomotive (Stanier LMS 8F 2-8-0 48756) was despatched after overhaul on 4 May 1964.

Horwich continued in use as a works for other rolling stock up to 1983. The foundry and the spring shop continued in use after this date, although the work force was reduced from 1400 to 300. In this form it was sold by BREL to the Parkfield Group in 1988. The rail connection to the works was finally removed in 1989.
The site is now an industrial estate, appropriately named “Horwich Loco”, with most of the buildings still continuing in use.
The railway station at Horwich was primarily used by employees at the works and it was opened on the 14 Feb 1870 (Quick’s Chronology). It closed in 1965 with the last passenger train from the station departing on the 27th Sept 1965 hauled by 2-6-4T number 42626 (Railway Magazine Dec 1965 p705)…….PHEW!!

Here’s how it used to look

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4 comments

#1RomanywgMay 7, 2010, 12:02 pm

I love the look of this place. It has everything. Rust, decay, dereliction, beauty, everything. Great find.

#2John boySeptember 30, 2012, 7:51 pm

Brings back great memories for me. I was an apprentice engineer at horwich loco works. 1992 -1999 i have worked on all these machines although all the surrounding belts , conveyors are now missing. It was like an adventure playground as a young teenager and I met and worked with some wonderful people( and some not so nice haha) what a shame to see it now all derelict. There is also lots of underground tunnels and pump rooms which are not shown. Heavy foundry engineering at its best.!

#3Geoff ThomasSeptember 25, 2014, 9:01 pm

That last image looks like the Kunkell Wagnor moulding machine. The mould was in two halves (cope and drag). The mould would travel under the central section and sand would drop in from the hopper above. Then the mould would slide to one side while the other half of the mould would slide into the central bit. Once filled with sand, the machine would vibrate before squeezing the mould. It sounded like an anti aircraft gun firing – bloody noise all day long! It was all hydraulically piston controlled.
The box section in the background looks like the Secondary Cooling. Once poured, the moulds would be allowed to cool (for days) in there.
The guy in the little room is in the charging crane control room. Magnetic cranes would collect the scrap metal and drop it into underground hoppers.
The next to last image looks like the 10T holding furnace.
The space ship looks like the cupola furnace.
I was a spark there. I’d love to have a proper look round.
I’m sure the place is haunted!
; )

#4KenniMarch 29, 2015, 12:29 pm

Visited this in December 2013 with a fellow UE member – didn’t actually expect to just walk in to one of the massive erecting sheds :D – anyway I posted the pics on nwex and 28dl – as a local lad and a train driver, this has got to be one of my most enjoyable/memorable explores.

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