Stainmore ‘J21’ to steam again

Unique ‘J21’ 0-6-0 No. 65033 will steam again, thanks to a £954,900 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Steam Railway gave sole-surviving ‘J21’ No. 65033 a much-need repaint back in 2003. It is pictured at Beamish in BR unlined black in the summer of that year. MIKE WILD/SR

Steam Railway gave sole-surviving ‘J21’ No. 65033 a much-need repaint back in 2003. It is pictured at Beamish in BR unlined black in the summer of that year. MIKE WILD/SR

It was revealed on June 19 that the Locomotive Conservation & Learning Trust (the owners of the Worsdell-designed locomotive) had been awarded the HLF grant, which will also cover the restoration of a 1902-built NER stores van.

It is hoped the 1889-built North Eastern Railway 0-6-0 will return to steam in two years’ time (see SR465 ‘Stainmore Survivor’), whereupon it will become the flagship locomotive of the Stainmore Railway Company at Kirkby Stephen East, the engine’s current home.

SRC Chairman, Dr Mike Thompson, said: “No. 65033 last steamed in 1983. The intervening 34 years have seen numerous failed attempts to restore the locomotive.

“This is our fifth submission to the HLF and, at last, we have been successful in obtaining the necessary funds to undertake an overhaul to the highest possible standards thus returning the locomotive to full working order for the enjoyment of all.”

The award of nearly a million pounds marks the culmination of a two-year ‘Development Phase’ that the HLF granted £38,500 towards in order to properly assess the cost of restoring the locomotive and the interpretation vehicle, professionally design a range of exhibits that will appeal to a wide spectrum of the public, and to identify the needs of the public, local schools and bodies, and the volunteers to make the railway grow.

Dr Thompson went on to say: “This award represents a huge vote of confidence by the HLF in the team of volunteers at Kirkby Stephen East who have made tremendous progress since taking over the abandoned railway 20 years ago. It enables us to now accelerate plans to develop our project as a centre of North Eastern Railway excellence.”