‘COWANS SHELDON’ : BR ADRC96719 (941599/ADRC95218)
50 TONNES BREAKDOWN CRANE
Breakdown cranes have been a necessity of the railway system for more than 150 years and were required to lift ever-increasing weight to enable the continued smooth running of the network. Very seldom seen, so as to maintain the confidence of the public in safety and comfort, they were the unsung heroes of the railway.
‘Cowans Sheldon’ crane (LNER works order No.6871), originally built in 1939 as a 45-tonne crane, was delivered in February 1940 as LNER No.941599, subsequently numbered 330110 by BR. This crane carried number ADRC95218 prior to conversion from steam to diesel-hydraulic in August 1986, following which it was renumbered to ADRC96719 and allocated to Brighton Depot in the Southern Region.
Now rated at 50 tonnes and preserved, this crane was one of a total of 176 breakdown cranes that appeared on the British railway system from 1875. Approximately one in five entered preservation and about half of these are in working order today.
Photos by: 1, 2, 3 + 5 - David Babaian, 4 - Corran Selman