Kettering Iron and Coal Company

Gauge: 3ft (915mm)

The Kettering Iron and Coal Company operated an extensive tramway system conveying iron ore to the furnaces at Kettering in the Midlands.

The Midlands counties of Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire are rich in ironstone which was exploited by many different companies. Ironstone narrow gauge railways became as well known as their Welsh slate counterparts.

The ironworks of Kettering Iron and Coal Ltd stood on the outskirts of Kettering. Ore was provided by several quarries in the ironstone rich vicinity. To transfer the ore to the furnaces the Company operated an extensive 3ft gauge tramway system – the longest in the ironstone fields. The furthest quarry was at Rothwell, three miles distant from the furnaces.

Wherever practicable, the rails were laid along the edge of fields so as not to interfere with agriculture. It was often almost invisible to anyone who did not know it was there.

The Kettering Company had two small Black, Hawthorn locos of 1879 and 1885, as well as well as several built by Manning, Wardle. Until 1932 at Thore Malsor Quarry it ran a Sentinel 0-4-0+0-4-0 double-ended articulated locomotive with a vertical boiler at each end. Ore wagons were of wooden construction, side-tipping, and were built in the Company’s own workshops.

The tramway ceased operating in 1962.

Number / NameManufacturerTypeNotes
Kettering Furnaces No.2Black, Hawthorn & Co. No.501 of 18790-4-0STScrapped 1963
Kettering Furnaces No.3 Black, Hawthorn & Co. No.859 of 18850-4-0STPreserved at the Penrhyn Castle Railway Museum
Kettering Furnaces No.4Black, Hawthorn & Co. No.893 of 18870-4-0STWithdrawn 1924. Scrapped 1927
Kettering Furnaces No.6Manning, Wardle & Co. No.1123 of 18890-6-0STScrapped 1963
Kettering Furnaces No.7Manning, Wardle & Co. No.1370 of 18970-6-0STScrapped 1963
Kettering Furnaces No.8Manning, Wardle & Co. No.1675 of 19060-6-0STPreserved by the Welland Valley Vintage Traction Club
Sentinel No.6412 of 19264wG+4wGArticulated geared steam locomotive. Scrapped 1960