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.
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.
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.
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.