Breakdown Cranes

Ransomes & Rapier

The steam crane was a part of the railway landscape for very many years, indeed it lasted longer than the steam locomotive with several still being used into the 1970s. Fortunately, several have passed into preservation at various heritage railways around the country, one of which is the ex-Exmouth Junction 45 ton crane, DS1580, that was made by Ransomes & Rapier.
DS 1580 DS 1580 DS 1580
DS 1580 re-constituted from three photographs - which were not quite in alignment!

photographs by Ian Morgan

DS 1580 was built for the Southern Railway in Ipswich by Ransomes & Rapier during 1944/5 as part of an order for six cranes, two for the Southern and four for the GWR, of the same type as had been previously ordered to prepare the railways for bomb damage during WWII. A total of sixteen were built, some for the Army, and of this sixteen nine have survived into preservation, though only a third of these is presently in working condition. When Exmouth Junction (now part of the Western Region) closed in 1965 DS 1580 was transfered to Newton Abbott, then to Plymouth Laira and Old Oak Common before being withdrawn in 1984. After spells at the Gloucestersgire Warwickshire and Llangollan Railways it was purchased by the Mid hants Railway in 1992, overhauled and placed back in service in 1993
Breakdown Crane The jib resting on it's match truck. These cranes were fitted with Stokes Bogies, which were a Ransomes & Rapier invention to spread the crane's axle loading. This enabled them to travel over most parts of the British Railway system.

photograph by Ian Morgan

Now raised and in action. The cranes were also built to the Hasting line loading gauge giving great route availability.

photograph by Ian Morgan

Breakdown Crane
Breakdown Crane DS 1580 proudly proclaims her original location, albeit in British Railways' colours rather than those of the Southern Railway.

photograph by Ian Morgan

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Cowans Sheldon | Ransomes & Rapier

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This page was created 28 March 2004

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