‘J27’ to visit Wensleydale this summer

Steam-hauled services will return to the Wensleydale Railway this summer as ‘J27’ No. 65894 is booked to visit.

 Destined for the Wensleydale Railway this summer, freshly overhauled ‘J27’ No. 65894 undergoes running-in trials on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway on May 10. THOMAS BRIGHT/SR

Destined for the Wensleydale Railway this summer, freshly overhauled ‘J27’ No. 65894 undergoes running-in trials on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway on May 10. THOMAS BRIGHT/SR

Although normally based at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, the North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group-owned engine is restricted to five-coach trains on the Pickering-Grosmont line owing to the railway’s difficult gradients, and is usually confined to the shoulders of the NYMR’s main running season.

The Worsdell 0-6-0 will therefore be based at Wensleydale for the high season, and follows in the footsteps of NELPG’s ‘J72’ 0-6-0T No. 69023, which has operated at the WR on numerous occasions.

A WR spokesman said: “We are pleased to welcome No. 65894 to the Wensleydale Railway for the summer. She is a locomotive very suited to the railway, with both the power we need to haul the trains and the coal and water capacity to allow us to run two trains per day.”

More steam is expected at the Wensleydale Railway for its Leyburn 1940s Weekend on July 21/22, in the shape of one of West Coast Railways’ main line-registered locomotives – although the identity of the visiting locomotive is not yet confirmed.

The locomotive will also be bringing a BR Mk 1 Second Corridor – formerly used as part of the ‘Hogwarts Express’ – to strengthen the line’s passenger-carrying rolling stock.

For more information, visit www.wensleydalerail.com

"Modern history" celebrated at Kirklees' Exmoor gala

Locomotives built by the Exmoor Steam Railway will be at the forefront of the Kirklees Light Railway’s annual Steam & Diesel Gala on September 8/9.

  Anne  and  Spirit of Adventure  – two of the locomotives set to visit the Kirklees Light Railway’s Steam & Diesel gala in September – are prepared for duty outside the Perrygrove Railway’s engine shed. MEGAN CHARMAN

Anne and Spirit of Adventure – two of the locomotives set to visit the Kirklees Light Railway’s Steam & Diesel gala in September – are prepared for duty outside the Perrygrove Railway’s engine shed. MEGAN CHARMAN

The Devon firm has constructed over 30 new-build steam locomotives since 1990, and its products have been described as modern interpretations of early minimum gauge locomotive principals.

Visiting locomotives include Spirit of Adventure and Anne from the Perrygrove Railway, and Monty and St. Egwin from the Evesham Vale Light Railway. These locomotives will operate alongside the KLR’s home fleet of Badger, Hawk, Owl, Katie, Siân, Jay and Tram No.7.

KLR General Manager Stuart Ross said: “This event is really about modern history. The family behind the Exmoor Steam Railway have been – and still are – key players in revitalising the miniature railway scene over the last 30 years. Without them the miniature railway world would certainly be less vibrant.

“They have provided operators with real steam engines that are well designed, affordable and, importantly, reliable. St. Egwin is an old friend of the railway and won many hearts when it visited us 8 years ago, and we are really looking forward to see how the other locomotives perform on our challenging railway.”

An intensive timetable will be in operation throughout the event, which will culminate on the Sunday with as many locomotives as possible hauling the 5pm departure to Shelley. The only McLaren steamroller in Britain will also be on display.

More information and discount tickets are available from www.kirkleeslightrailway.com

Fifty Glorious Years of Steam - On Sale Now!

Fifty Glorious Years of Steam - the latest bookazine from the publisher's of Steam Railway - is on sale now!

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Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the end of British main line standard gauge steam, this is the ultimate guide to 1968 and the final year of steam in Britain.

Written by the team that brings you Steam Railway every month, Fifty Glorious Years of Steam is packed with fascinating features looking at every aspect of the rundown of main line steam: the last locomotives in service, the final steam workings and the special railtours.

The burgeoning preservation scene gets a look-in as well, with the Dinting Railway Centre, the Keighley & Worth Valley, Severn Valley and Vale of Rheidol railways all featured - including many more.

It also features spectacular photography from the likes of John Hunt, Colin Gifford, Les Nixon and many more, capturing the spirit and the atmosphere of the final 12 months of steam.

Yours for just £7.99, Fifty Glorious Years of Steam is available in all goods newsagents and online at www.greatmagazines.co.uk/steam-railway-specials  

Steam Railway SR481 - On Sale Now!

In this month’s edition of Steam Railway, we go behind the scenes of four of preservation’s most extraordinary restorations, and tell the inside story of how a quartet of neglected, vintage carriages were restored to their former glory in just six months as part of a programme for Channel 4.

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We also discover how and why a trio of LMS Ivatt ‘2MTs’ crossed the Solent to take part in a very special event on the Isle of Wight Steam Railway, in a salute to two dedicated preservationists who ensured these latter-day Big Four locomotives were saved for posterity.

In our other features, we explore the night shifts in some of the world’s last working steam sheds, the demise of the LMS-NCC ‘WT’ 2-6-4Ts in Northern Ireland, and renowned photographer and regular Steam Railway contributor Peter Zabek presents a selection of preservation-era images which recapture the glory of the Western Region in steam days.

As always, we bring you the very latest news, comment and analysis from the world of preservation, including:

·      Tyseley TOC railtours could begin in August

·      Rocket heads north to Newcastle*

·      ‘GlosWarks’ toasts gala success with ‘KEII’ and Oliver Cromwell

·      Bulleid shortage at Swanage after Sir Keith Park taken out of traffic

·      Keighley & Worth Valley Railway prepares for ‘biggest ever’ gala

There’s all this and more in the latest edition of Steam Railway – on sale now!

*Tell us where you think Rocket should be permanently displayed, by voting in the Steam Railway poll.

Subscribe to Steam Railway now and never miss an issue!

Revealed: Killingworth ‘Billy’ world’s third oldest locomotive

Railway history has been rewritten after the discovery that George Stephenson’s Killingworth ‘Billy’ – previously believed to have been built after Locomotion No. 1 – is the third-oldest surviving steam locomotive in the world.

 Now the world’s third-oldest steam locomotive, George Stephenson’s Killingworth ‘Billy’ on display in the Stephenson Railway Museum in North Shields, Tyne & Wear. SRM

Now the world’s third-oldest steam locomotive, George Stephenson’s Killingworth ‘Billy’ on display in the Stephenson Railway Museum in North Shields, Tyne & Wear. SRM

A recent archaeological survey conducted on the Stephenson Railway Museum-based locomotive by renowned historians, Dr Michael Bailey and Peter Davidson, has concluded that it was built in 1816, and not 1826 as previously thought.

The revelation makes ‘Billy’ the world’s third-oldest surviving steam locomotive – after William Hedley and Timothy Hackworth’s Puffing Billy and Wylam Dilly – as well as the oldest surviving standard gauge steam locomotive.

In a statement, the SRM said: “Although none of ‘Billy’s’ surviving components can be traced back to 1816, it has features that, despite being later replacements, provide a clear footprint of the original; primarily it retains the same standard track gauge set by George Stephenson at that time (4ft 8½in), and also the distance between the two cylinders and the axles presents a unique identifier.”

Geoff Woodward, Museum Manager North & South Tyneside, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, said: “This latest research is great news, not only for North Tyneside and the region, but also for its significance world-wide. It is always very exciting to actually come face to face with an early locomotive, especially one of the pioneering locomotives we all know from illustrations in history books.

“As a locomotive, Billy’s value in historical terms has been increased, not just because it’s the world’s third-oldest, but because it feels like we have George Stephenson’s signature on it. Everyone has heard of Rocket – now everyone is going to hear about ‘Billy’ too.”

The news comes after Robert Stephenson’s original 1829-built Rocket left its long-time home of the Science Museum in Kensington for display in the Discovery Museum in Newcastle for the Great Exhibition of the North, which opens on June 22.