This locomotive was built in 1944 by the Hunslet Engine Company for the Ministry of Defence. It then entered service as WD 75142.
See LNER class J94 for details.
After the war the locomotive carried the number 140 in line with the renumbering of the Ministry of Defence locomotives
The locomotives was delivered new in November 1944 to Barby, near Rugby.
After this its history was as follows-
- February 1945 moved to Lockerley in Wiltshire – a US Army base
- May 1947 – at Hilsea in Hampshire
- July 1947 – at Ashchurch in Gloucestershire
- September – at Fratton Southern Railway MPD
- September 1952 – Cairnryan Military Railway, Stranraer
- November 1953 – moved to Boughton in Nottinghamshire
- June 1958 – in store at Bicester in Oxfordshire
- March 1960 – moved to Bramley in Hampshire
- September 1961 – in store at Bramley
In March 1962 the locomotive was sold to the National Coal Board (NCB) before going to the Hunslet Engine Company in Leeds in 1962..
It reappeared two years later after being rebuilt as Works No 3887. The rebuild was the result of a bid to meet stringent restrictions on smoke emissions.
The Argentinian, Ing. L.D.Porta was commissioned by the Hunslet company to design certain modifications. Following the company becoming aware of Porta technology when, unsuccessfully, bidding for the contract to build the second batch of 75cm gauge 2-10-2 locomotives for RFIRT, Argentina.
Research suggests the locomotives may not have been quite as Porta would have wished. It is felt something could have been lost ‘in the translation’ between Argentina and the UK. However despite some shortcomings these locomotives did serve an important purpose in the development of steam. They were the very first application of Porta’s work outside of his native Argentina.
The rebuild involved fitting a form of Kylpor ejector system and the provision of a underfeed stoker with a modification the coal bunker to allow a hopper feed to the stoker.
Locomotive No.3883 was sent to BR Swindon in late January 1963 and for a week in February 1963 it was utilised as Swindon MPD pilot locomotive. This period allowed experiments to be undertaken with various coal sizes. Later in February the locomotive was formally handed over to the BR Research Department (Swindon) for controlled road test. The testing was undertaken over the approximately 18 miles stretch of mainline between Yarnton and Kingham on the Oxford – Worcester mainline, today called the Cotswold Line.
Tests on Works Number 3883 demonstrated significant improvements over a standard locomotive with a steaming rate of 12,000lbs/hour being achieved compared with 6,000lbs/hour for an unmodified locomotive. A maximum output of 898hp was recorded, a very impressive figure for what was a shunting locomotive. These tests were the last time a steam locomotive was formally tested by British Railways with a dynamometer car.
After being rebuilt in March 1964 the locomotive (now works no 3887) was employed at the Smithywood Coking Plant at Chapeltown in Leeds.
By July 1973 the locomotive was working at Smithywood but had had the underfeed stoker (which was fitted as part of the rebuild) removed.
In 1978 the locomotive was purchased by Phil Wainwright and moved to the Main Line Steam Trust at Loughborough on the Great Central Railway.
In March 1979 it moved to the Midland Railway Centre where it underwent repairs but was back in steam in 1984. It is recorded as running at the Midland Railway Centre as 68012 in the 1980s. The real 68012 was built by the Hunslet Engine Company but it was scrapped in February 1968.
In 1990 the locomotive was purchased by D Milham and moved to the privately owned preservation railway at Isfield in East Sussex. In 1991 this was taken over by the Lavender Line but the locomotive still required major repair work to be undertaken before being able to run again. It steamed again in 1995 on the Lavender Line.
In 2003 it was taken out of service as it needed boiler and firebox repairs.
In April 2009 it was bought by the Norfolk Heritage Steam Railway Ltd.
The restoration work was started in May 2009 at a private site adjacent to Yaxham Station. In November 2017 it was moved to the Bressingham Steam Museum.
The locomotive carries its original works number and name Norfolk Regiment which the owners acquired in 2010.
By March 2019 work had progressed to a stage where finishing touches were being applied with a view to having the locomotive running at Bressingham in May 2019.