In 1942, Edgar Alcock, the Hunslet Chairman, convinced the Ministry of Supply that the Hunslet Class 50550 18” Saddle Tank, being of a more straight-forward design than the Ministry favoured LMS Jinty, would be a more suitable locomotive to meet the Ministry's robust demands for military operated locomotives within the UK and overseas.
The first locomotive was completed at Hunslett's Leeds works at the start of 1943, with many being subcontracted to Andrew Barclay Sons & Co., W.G. Bagnall, Hudswell Clarke, Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns and the Vulcan Foundry, in order to meet delivery requirements. In all, 347 had been built for the War Department by 1947, with two further engines being built, unauthorised, for colleries, followed by a further seventy seven being built new for the National Coal Board.
Lord Phil was originally built as Hunslet 2868 in 1943 for the War Department and numbered WD 168, one of the first of the class to be built. In 1963 it was given a new lease of life and rebuilt as Hunslet 3883 as a trial for the Hunslet underfeed stoker and gas producer combustion system (GPCS) with this particular example being used for dynamometer car trials at Kingham in April 1963. This equipment was removed following purchase from the Rutland Railway Museum in 2008 and prior to service at Peak Rail in 2011, where the locomotive, now owned by Mike Thomas, operates in Preservation.
Maximum curve Hornby 1st radius + / 371mm+