Suburban Electric Railway Association      
Located at the COVENTRY ELECTRIC RAILWAY CENTRE, Rowley Road, Baginton, Warwickshire           


Established 1996


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  Ruston & Hornsby 88DS - Principle Data  

Engine Ruston 4 Cylinder VPH of 88hp
Weight In Working Order 20 tons
Transmission Mechanical gearbox driving both axles via chain drive
Length 19 feet 7 inches
Wheel Diameter 3 feet

338416 - A Brief History

The 88DS that is now in the custody of the Suburban Electric Railway Association was the 153rd member of the class to be constructed. Built by Ruston and Hornsby at their Boultham works in Licoln and outshoped on Sept.7th 1953 this is a twenty ton variant of this numerous industrial loco type. Originally it would have been painted in the Ruston house colours of brunswick green with cream and lime green lining and red buffer beams with black underframe when delivered new to the National Oil & Coke Cos. works at Erith in Kent. Few details are known about its life in industrial service except that it was sold to British Gypsum for use at their Erith site at some date. During it's working life the loco was fitted with air operated window wipers and was given the name CRABTREE, this, rather unusually, was carried on the upper bonnet on one side only. The loco was painted powder blue by British Gypsum.It was sold out of industrial use in 1985 to the North Downs Steam Railway and moved to their then site at Chatham Dockyard. From there it moved to storage at Cory Coal Yard at Rochester in November 1986 as the NDSR had been evicted from the Dockyard. When the NDSR acquired their Dartford site in 1987 the loco was re-located there.I t seldom saw any use in the late 80's due to a number of mechanical problems and was withdrawn from traffic in 1991 to be thoroughly overhauled by an NDSR member who took pity on its, by then, rather shabby condition. Progress on the overhaul was slow until autumn 1994 when it was released to traffic, only to be withdrawn again after only one day with gearbox failure. The loco next saw use at Easter 1995, but again the gearbox fault could not be cured, so the loco was again laid aside with the intention of fitting a secondhand gearbox obtained from a scrapped loco. Events however over took the plan and the NDSR was again on the move, this time to Tunbridge Wells. Limitations on space at the new site meant that not all the NDSR locos and stock could be accommodated, so along with three other locos and some wagons 338416 was put out to loan to any group willing to offer it a good home. If events had gone according to plan it should now have been at the Southall Rail Centre or the Amberly Chalk Pits Museum as both groups showed a keen interest in taking it on. However both lines came to nothing and the loco spent the first few weeks of this year unwanted seeing only occasional use on light duties such as shunting the rail mounted crane involved in the dismantling of the Dartford site.SERA (or MATEP as it was then known) made an approach to the NDSR for custody of the loco in late February which was readily accepted. The move to Coventry was effected on April 17th.1996.

R&H 338416 at the Coventry Railway Centre

The loco is fitted with train air brake control which makes it highly usefull in moving EMU stock at Coventry. Work planned to be carried out on the loco in the future includes an overhaul of the donkey engine and compressor, gearbox and wiring.

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