Did you know that Ludborough station is home to one of the smallest standard-gauge diesel shunting locomotives ever built?

This dinky little ‘Yardmaster’ loco number 5308 was built in 1960 at the Hunslet Engine Works in Leeds and was designed for one-man operation in small goods yards.

It has a full-length rail level platform on both sides, which enabled the driver to operate the loco without the need to climb up into cab. This would have been a great advantage where one man was expected to do the driving, coupling and point-changing duties by himself.

Only a small number of these unusual shunting locos were built and this example spent its working life at the Ciba-Geigy chemical plant in Grimsby, where it was painted bright blue and was given the name ‘Colonel B’, after Colonel Bedford, who originally founded the company.

When it was taken out of service Ciba Geigy (later Novartis) kindly donated ‘Colonel B’ to the Lincolnshire Wolds Railway Society and it was moved to the Ludborough station site in 2005, where it was used for around five years.

Now a group of volunteers at the railway are carrying out restoration work on the loco, with the aim of getting it back into working order. Once this is done it is hoped to use ‘Colonel B’ for demonstration shunts in the yard at Ludborough.

Little and large: Our picture above shows the Hunslet Yardmaster being towed by the much bigger 0-6-0 Bagnall Diesel Shunter ‘Debbie’.

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