Restored locomotive serves up memories

Albert Robinson with his three-year-old great grand-daughter Jessica Fox. Picture: Kate Mallender
Albert Robinson with his three-year-old great grand-daughter Jessica Fox. Picture: Kate Mallender
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Pensioner Albert Robinson came face to face with his past when he showed his three-year-old great grand-daughter Jessica Fox a fully restored steam locomotive from his former Harrogate workplace.

The engine, named ‘Barber’, was taken out of service almost 70 years ago. It was built in Leeds in 1908 and was used to haul coal at the former Harrogate Gas Works Company and it is back in the town after an 11-year restoration project to be shown on the President’s Lawn at the Great Yorkshire Show between Tuesday and Thursday this week.

The locomotive used to deliver coal along a one-mile long, two-foot narrow, gauge railway from Bilton Sidings to the Gas Works.

Mr Robinson, 92, of Bishop Thornton, near Harrogate, started work at Harrogate Gas Works at the age of 15 as a draughtsman and has fond memories of ‘Barber’.

“It looks a lot cleaner than it used to when I remember it,” he said.

‘Barber’ was named after the chairman of Harrogate Gas Works Company, Francis Barber, the founding partner of Harrogate law firm Barber Titleys. The engine was restored by the South Tynedale Railway Preservation Society.