65462 (GER 564, LNER 7564, LNER 5462 & BR 65462)

65462b.jpg

65462 was built in February 1912 at Stratford Works as GER 564. It was one of the penultimate batch of ten and had a Macallan variable blastpipe, dual-brakes and steam heating fitted during construction.

It spent most of its working life in Norfolk and Suffolk. In 1922 and 1936 it was allocated to Norwich Thorpe and also spent time at Yarmouth. In October 1936 it was transferred to Lowestoft and stayed here for 13 years.

Originally the engine had a dished smokebox door, a rolled steel stovepipe and encased Ramsbottom safety valves. During LNER ownership it received a bevel-edged smokebox door, a cast iron J72 type chimney and Ross pop safety valves. The LNER replaced the GER wooden cab roof with a higher pitched steel one around 1933.

Between June 1947 and April 1950 the engine carried a GER boiler with Ross pop safety valves and the whistle mounted on the former Ramsbottom valve seat. During a general repair in May 1953 its boiler was changed for one that had a short Darlington chimney, the whistle on a tall mounting just in front of the cab and no safety valve seat. The tender was swapped at the same time for a similar Holden one. A tender cab, made from the cab of a condemned GER 2-4-2T was fitted between then and 1956 to protect the crew from rain or blowing coal dust when the engine was travelling tender first. In June 1957, the boiler was replaced by another with the more usual tall J72 chimney.

65462 was allocated to Norwich Thorpe in June 1960 and then moved to Stratford in January 1961. Later in the year it had air-brake trip-cock equipment fitted on the right-hand locomotive rail-iron and under the left hand tender frames for use on the Leyton to Epping/Ongar line. The former GER branch was by then part of London Transport’s Central Line, but BR J15s hauled occasional specials and freight trains on it until April 1962.

In January 1962, 65462 was retubed at Stratford, before joining the few other remaining London based members of the J15 class on standby and Liverpool Street station pilot duties. These elderly engines were kept because of their wide route availability and Westinghouse brakes. 65462 was loaned to Colchester for a while for use as Clacton station pilot. The last four J15s (including 65462) were finally withdrawn on 16th September 1962, when steam was eliminated from East Anglia, having outlived many other more modern types of locomotive.

After withdrawal, four of the class were retained for possible preservation and put into open air storage at Stratford. During the previous October, the The Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway Society (M&GNJRS) had decided to buy a J15 for use on its scheme to reopen one of the closed M&GN lines and had started to raise the £800 required. The Society had initially planned to have 65469, but a crack was found in its frames and so 65462 was purchased instead, mainly because of the stovepipe chimney. The others were cut up for scrap.

65462 was test steamed at Stratford in 1963. After the removal of the cladding and asbestos lagging it was moved to Devons Road, Bow, where they remained for a while until it closed. The Society had the depot to itself until asked to leave as track removal was imminent. The J15 piston connections were removed and put in a coal wagon – with some coal still in it. The two engine (along with 61572) plus wagon were then moved to March motive power depot.

Where both locomotives were stored outside the old steam shed. In 1966 the engines boiler was given two partial hydraulic tests to determine the condition of the tubes. It was found that the boiler had once been fitted to an F3 2-4-2T and dated from before 1893.

65462 was transferred to Sheringham, on the North Norfolk Railway (NNR), in June 1967 where it was restored and returned to steam ten years later. It ran for ten years on the NNR, where it withdrawn from service in 1989.

After significant boiler works, in which a new firebox was built, it returned to steam for the first time in 13 years in 2002. During this boiler ticket, 65462 visited other heritage railways and covered many thousands of miles on the NNR. In the winter of 2011/12, the boiler was retubed and the locomotive and repainted into LNER black to celebrate its centenary year.

In May 2013, it was again withdrawn from traffic after completing the final steaming of its second ten year ticket in preservation. By July 2013 the engine was with Ian Riley & Sons of Bury for the commencement of its heavy general overhaul which was completed in 2015 when it was outshopped in GER lined blue and sporting its original number of 564 and representing its days when classified as a GER class Y14. The cost of returning the engine to steam was in excess of £350,000.

The locomotive which is owned by the Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway Society has undergone retubing at Weybourne during the winter of 2016/2017. This task was not undertaken as part of the heavy overhaul undertaken between 2013 and 2015 as the boiler inspector had given permission for the tubes to stay in for a further two years.

65462 returned to service in April 2017 with a boiler certificate which is valid until August 2024.

Home Base Current Status Owner
North Norfolk Railway Operational Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway Society
564 (65462)-Weybourne-2017.jpg 65462 at Weybourne on the North Norfolk Railway-2017
65462a.jpg 65462 at Bewdley on the Severn Valley Railway-2017
65462c.jpg 65462 at Bewdley on the Severn Valley Railway-2017

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