This locomotive was built in 1953 for the Ministry of Defence by the Hunslet Engine Company to the design used to supply to the Ministry of Defence and is thus regarded as an Austerity type locomotive.
See LNER class J94 for details.
The locomotive was delivered as WD 194 to the Longmoor Army Stores Depot in southern England as part of the Strategic War Reserve. Despite being brand new, it was immediately put into store. Two years later, in 1955 when the Stores Depot closed, the engine was transferred to Bicester where it was put into traffic in 1958. After ten years of service, it was completely overhauled and re-tubed before being put back into store again.
A few months after the completion of the overhaul it was transferred to the Weapons Testing Depot at Shoeburyness in Essex to replace another locomotive, whose firebox had been condemned. Its days at Shoeburyness were very leisurely: the locomotive was only steamed once every twelve weeks, the main duty being to haul the 50 tons Cowan Sheldon steam crane when gun barrels needed changing on the gunnery ranges.
After a quiet career with the Army, the locomotive was purchased from the Ministry of Defence in July 1973 by the Lakeside Railway Society for use on the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway.
It arrived at Haverthwaite in September of that year, still bearing the khaki Army livery and the number 94, and entered traffic in 1974 after being fitted with the Alan Middleton vacuum equipment.
It was named Cumbria after the new local authority created in the area that year. Since then, ownership has passed to the Furness Railway Trust when it became the first steam locomotive they owned.
Cumbria became a stalwart of L&HR services – accounting for around 40% of the total passenger mileage recorded on the three-and-a-half-mile railway. It was ideally suited to the challenging run coping admirably with 200 tonne plus trains on gradients up to 1 in 70.
Since 1995 Cumbria has run in Furness Railway livery, carrying the number FR 150, in conjunction with the 150th anniversary celebrations of the FR in 1996.
It became the mainstay of the locomotive fleet on the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway, covering over one hundred thousand miles on the three and a half mile line. This represents over forty per cent of the locomotive mileage since the L&HR reopened to passenger traffic in 1973. It is almost certainly the first standard gauge former industrial locomotive in the country to achieve such a feat.
In 2009 the locomotive moved to the Ribble Steam Railway where it is currently operational.
The locomotive is on hire at the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway.