Hunslet    Works No 3797     WD197    Sapper  No 25 Northiam 0-6-0ST

Hunslet 3797 on the Kent& East Sussex Railway - July 2018.jpg

See LNER class J94 for details.

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.

It was initially employed at by the Army at Bicester as WD 197. It then worked at various Army locations, including Longmoor in 1957, before going to the Kent & East Sussex Railway (K&ESR) in 1977 from the Command Ordnance Depot at Bicester where, as WD 197 it had been named Sapper in May 1965.

During its first two years it remained Army property and remained on a back siding at Rolvenden. Despite only having done a small mileage in service with the Army the Ministry of Defence disposed of it to a small group of K&ESR members in October 1979.

It entered service on the K&ESR at the end of 1981 in a distinctive lined blue livery similar to that used at Longmoor and not without resemblance to the K&ESR livery used in Colonel Stephens’ days. As the Sapper nameplates were not available the locomotive was renamed Northiam in April 1982.

After visiting the Bluebell Railway and the Great Central Railway the locomotive underwent a ten year overhaul and returned to traffic in 1988.

After running for a number of years on the railway was stored for a period on the K&ESR but after an overhaul it was returned to steam in January 2018.

3797 at Horsted Keynes – June 1982
3797 at Loughborough on the Great Central Railway – February 1985
3797 on the Kent & East Sussex Railway at Northiam – August 1990
3797 at Tenterden Town on the Kent & East Sussex Railway – April 1991
3797 at Burrs on the East Lancs Railway – February 2012
Hunslet 3797 on the Kent& East Sussex Railway - July 2018.jpg
3797 at Tenterden on the Kent& East Sussex Railway – July 2018

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