As class T2 number 2238, 63395 was completed by the NER at Darlington North Road Works in November 1918, one of eight built that year.
It was sent to Gateshead for running-in and allocated to Blaydon depot where it remained for 25 years. Its first re-allocation as part of a large wartime reshuffle was to Newport (Middlesbrough) allocations also followed at Darlington, West Hartlepool, and Hull Dairycoates, preceded six years allocated to Selby depot. In June 1959 63395 was transferred once more to Darlington Bank Top, and then to Consett, before the engine was finally sent to Sunderland South Dock in May 1965. From here the Q6 worked south to Vane Tempest, Seaham, Teesside and South Hetton, and northwards to the Tyne, ironically ending its days where they had begun almost 50 years before. 63395 was the final Q6 to be overhauled at Darlington Works in September 1965 and, along with 63387 of West Hartlepool shed, was the last Q6 in service. Following withdrawal, in September 1967, 63395 was moved into store at Tyne Dock shed pending preservation.
The locomotive was purchased by the (North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group) NELPG on 1stApril 1968 for £2,300 following the group having purchased J27 65894 in December of the previous year.
65894 and 63395 had been put in store in the old wagon works at Tyne Dock by BR prior to them being purchased as there was a good relationship with the NELPG. Because of the value of copper however 63395 was sold along with other locomotives to Hughes Bolcklow in Blythe. For whatever reason however the crew who were rostered to tow 63395 to the scrapyard never turned in for work so the locomotive did not move to Blythe.
The next hurdle the NELPG had to overcome was the contract between BR and the scrap merchant. The problem being the inclusion of a clause that stated that once the engine had been sold for scrap it could not be resold. This problem was resolved with the assistance of Captain Peter Manistry who was Chairman of The Association of Railway Preservation Societies. This was also a problem which had to be resolved when 43924 left Woodham Brothers scrapyard in September 1967 as the firt locomotive to leave the scrapyard for preservation.
Whilst work started on the restoration at Tyne Dock, the unsafe condition of the building meant that the engine was moved to Hartlepool depot in October 1968 for preparation for hydraulic testing and repainting. However, the working conditions here forced another move, this time to Thornaby depot, in February 1969. Here the boiler was re-tubed, hydraulically tested and, in October 1969, successfully steamed. Vacuum brake and steam heating were fitted for the first time, and in June 1970 the locomotive travelled in steam from Thornaby to Grosmont on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR).
The locomotive was used until November 1971 when it was withdrawn for replacement of its large flue tubes, mechanical overhaul and repainting in NER livery as T2 2238. This work was completed in time for the locomotive to appear at the Shildon celebrations in August 1975. The locomotive then returned to the NYMR where it worked regularly until 1982 when it was withdrawn for major overhaul. It had covered a total of 11,368 miles on the NYMR.
Following its withdrawal from traffic in 1982 the locomotive was put into store inside the groups Deviation shed and here it stayed for over 18 years. It took a back seat due to the fact that in 1986 the group became custodians of A2 60532 Blue Peter and A4 60019 Bittern, the A2 was restored to mainline running condition and the A4 was restored as A4 pioneer 2509 Silver link before it went on display at York in 1988 alongside A4 Mallard as part of the 50th Anniversary of Mallards record 126mph record run.
Even though the locomotive had taken a back seat it was not forgotten and during NELPG’s stay in No.5 Depot at I.C.I. Wilton, a Manpower Services Scheme overhauled the tender. Work on the locomotive eventually started in the autumn of 2000 when contractors Ian Storey Engineering removed the small tubes and large flues in readiness for a thorough internal examination of the boiler and firebox. However, it was to be almost a year before further progress was made when on 20th September 2001 at Grosmont; the boiler was lifted off the frames.
The frames then left Grosmont and were towed the 17 miles to the NYMR’s permanent way yard at New Bridge, Pickering on 7thJanuary 2002, where they could be loaded onto road transport for the journey to Darlington for overhaul at the groups newly fitted out workshop in the historic Stockton and Darlington Railway’s Hopetown Carriage works, the western part of the building occupied by the A1 Locomotive Trust.
Meanwhile the NELPG had successfully sought Heritage Lottery funding to part finance the boiler overhaul, which was estimated to cost £100,000. In doing so it also reached a decision to contract out the boiler overhaul to the NYMR, so with the boiler overhaul under way at Grosmont and mechanical overhaul underway at Darlington progress at last was been made.
Following completion of the mechanical overhaul in April 2005 the frames returned from Darlington and was again put into store in the groups Deviation shed (named after the signal box that occupied the site some years earlier) at Grosmont while the NYMR completed the boiler overhaul. In October 2006 the boiler passed it official hydraulic test and then again a few weeks later when it passed the official off the frames steam test in the presence of an Insurance company official. The boiler was lifted back onto the frame on the 1st November 2006 so then allowing the final reassembly to begin.
Reassembly is a mammoth task itself, putting all the bits back on sounds simple enough, but past experience has shown that it is never straightforward and always takes longer than anticipated. The majority of the pipe work on the locomotive was renewed, the fire grate will need rebuilding with new grate support brackets and then the boiler lagging and cladding will all need fitting.
63395 steamed again in the summer of 2007 before entering service in September of that year.
It has since had further work undertaken including work on the boiler at Crewe where it passed its insurance steam test in July 2014. It returned to traffic in the following month.
63395 remains based at Grosmont on the NYMR under the ownership of the North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group.
The boiler certificate was valid until in 1st January 2017. The owners were optimistic that an inspection of the boiler will prove favourable and that the locomotive can be back in operation in 2017.
Following inspection with the insurance company agreement has been reached which will allow the locomotive to run until 2024. This agreement is dependent on all of its superheater flue tubes being replaced and the superheater elements themselves being removed for inspection and to have new ends fitted. This work will be carried out at Grosmont by NELPG volunteers over a two month period with assistance from the NYMR. The aim is to have 63395 back in service for the peak summer service in 2017 with a boiler certificate valid until 2024. This proved not to be possible and a revised estimate of when the locomotive will be operational was given as March/April 2018.
In May 2017 the driving wheels were removed and sent to the South Devon Railway for the fitting of new tyres. They were re-fitted at Grosmont in October 2017.
By the end of 2017 it was confidently predicted that the locomotive would be back in service in 2018.
The locomotive returned to traffic during 2018.
As all of the small and flue tubes having been replaced the boiler certificate will be valid until 2024.
The locomotive was taken out of service at the end of 2018 and was repainted in unlined black. It will not return to traffic with NER lettering until May 2019.
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