This six-wheel travelling steam crane was built for the Southern Region of British Railways in 1949 by Messrs Taylor & Hubbard (builder's No. 1603). It takes steam at 90 psi from a vertical ‘Spencer Hopwood' patent steam boiler. The crane weighs 471/2 tons in full working order and has a 37 ft jib. Lifting capacity is 10 tons at 15 ft radius. As DS 451, it spent most of its working life at New Cross Gate although the last few years of its life were spent at Hither Green and Ashford track pre-assembly depots, being successively displaced by diesel cranes. It was sometimes used by BR as a spare crane, being transferred to other depots when their cranes underwent repairs. During its final months spent at Ashford it was only used when other cranes were due for washout or repairs. It received a heavy overhaul at New Cross Gate in 1977 and was re-roped in February 1981, only a few nonths before being laid aside at Ashford. A group of members successfully tendered for it and delivery took place in August 1982.
DS 451 has seen much use since its arrival. It is of extremely rugged construction - Taylor & Hubbard appeared to build their machines on the Victorian principle of ‘If it breaks double the size and weight'. The engine and gearing were built to withstand a hundred per cent overload. It is ideally suited to permanent way work, withstanding the hard slogging often needed.