On July 17, the latest addition to the Leighton Buzzard Railway’s fleet, Orenstein & Koppel 0-6-0WT Pedemoura, pulled its first revenue-earning service since returning to steam last month.
Built in 1924 by O&K, Pedemoura was delivered to the Pedorido colliery in the Douro valley in Northern Portugal. The 0-6-0WT was imported into the UK for preservation in 1972 and housed at Knebworth before moving to the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway three years later for restoration. Efforts to return Pedemoura to steam stalled as work was focused on the original WHR engine, Russell.
Moving to the LBR in 2005, Pedemoura hauled her first loaded test run over the 2ft gauge line on June 20. The locomotive is the largest engine in the LBR fleet and, at 90hp, is more powerful than its fellow O&K stablemates 0-6-0WT Elf and 0-4-0WT P.C. Allen, which are 50hp and 20hp respectively.
LBR Vice-President Alf Fisher said: “As far as we know, Pedemoura has never before pulled a train with fare-paying passengers. It’s quite possible that until she undertook some test runs last week, she had never before pulled a passenger train of any kind. Weighing in at 13 tons, Pedemoura will be more than capable of pulling our heaviest trains, and will be an invaluable addition to the fleet.”
A formal rededication ceremony will be held in due course.