68088 was built at Darlington in October 1923 and entered service as LNER number 985.
It was sent to Alexandra Dock Shed at Hull. The dock had been opened up in the early years of the present century and was the only example of co-operation between two deadly rivals – the North Eastern and the Hull and Barnsley railways. Eventually, the North Eastern took over the Hull and Barnsley in 1922 – much to the displeasure of many Hull people – and Alexandra Dock became a purely North Eastern preserve.
985 remained at Alexandra Dock until June 1937 when it was moved to Dairycoates shed, at the West end of Hull, still for use on dock shunting. It moved to Tyne Dock, South Shields, at the outbreak of war.
68088 was one of two locomotives of the Y7 class that was taken into BR ownership in 1948. In 1948 it was based at Tyne Dock but in June of that year it was transferred to Stratford Works where it was used as a departmental engine until it was withdrawn in December 1952 following its sale to the National Coal Board (NCB). It was employed by the NCB at Bentick and Thurgaton Collieries in Nottinghamshire until 1964 when it was purchased by the Y7 Preservation Society who stored it at a farm in Thurgarton, Nottinghamshire.
In July 1975, it was rescued from the barn and arrived in Loughborough that November, complete with a spare boiler. It was steamed again on 22nd October 1983 and has seen occasional service since then giving brake van rides in Loughborough Yard on special occasions.
The boiler certificate expired in July l993. 68088 was moved to Quorn and Woodhouse in March 1994 and transferred to GC(N) Ruddington for display. It was retubed, and returned to traffic in May 1997 as LNER 985. Vacuum braking equipment was added shortly after, enabling the engine to be used on passenger services.
It has been based at the North Norfolk Railway since 2004. In December 2010 it was announced that when its overhaul was completed the following year, 68088 would be based at Beamish Museum for three years. In April 2015 985 visited the Epping Ongar Railway for their 150th celebrations, after which it visited the Midland Railway Centre before returning to Norfolk.
The locomotive is currently at Mid-Suffolk Light Railway.
|Home Base||Current Status||Owner|
|North Norfolk Railway||Operational||Steam Power Trust|
|68088 at Marley Hill on the Tanfield Railway – September 2012|