Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn     Works No 7086    WD 76050 No 27  68005 Norman 0-6-0ST

Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn 7086.jpg

This locomotive was built in 1943, to a Hunslet Engine Company design, by Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn for the Ministry of Defence. It then entered service as WD5050.

See LNER class J94 for details.

The locomotive was originally employed by the 154 Railway Operating Company of the Royal Engineers at Long Marston. Here it carried a kaki livery in readiness for the D-Day landings.

In August 1944 the locomotive moved to the Longmoor Military Railway in Hampshire where it was given the number WD76050.

In December 1944 the locomotive was shipped to France and travelled to the SNCB ( Société nationale des chemins de fer belges  – national railway of Belgium) depot at Antwerp Dam. There it was used to haul local services for the next six months before it was transferred to 155 Railway Workshops Company in May for wheel turning. It then returned to Antwerp but was allocated to the south shed.

In February 1946 the locomotive was returned to the UK and was bought by Doncaster Amalgamated Colliery Ltd where it became No 35.

In early 1960’s it was fitted with a Gas Producer firebox and a Kylpor exhaust. For the next six years it saw little use being kept as a spare engine.

In 1970 the locomotive moved to Askern Main colliery at Doncaster.

In 1976 it was sold to the Titanic Steamship Company.

In 1979 it was sold to the Kent & East Sussex Railway (K&ESR) where it was renumbered as K&ESR No 27 and put on static display.

In 1995 the locomotive was purchased by Norman Taylor and it was transferred to the Midland Railway Centre at Butterley. The owner had hoped that he would be assisted in restoring the locomotive but this did not materialise so in 1998 he exchanged the locomotive for shares in Southern Locomotives Limited.

The locomotive was then moved to Sellinge where it was planned to restore it despite the facilities there being limited. Despite the external condition of the boiler being in good condition this gave a false impression of its general state. On dismantling the locomotive, it was discovered that just about every conceivable part was broken, bent or life expired, and it had obviously been derailed at some point. The cylinder blocks were a major concern and should really have been replaced but the funds available it not permit this so it was repaired.

The frames were rewheeled in November 2006 and the boiler was made ready for re-instalment after having had a new tubeplate fitted. New tubes were fitted during the winter of 2006/7. A new smokebox was rolled and re-fitted and it was fitted with a conventional exhaust.

In June 2009 the locomotive was moved to Swanage.

In October 2010 the locomotive was moved to the Embsay & Bolton Steam Railway where its restoration was completed. It entered service there in February 2011 where it operated until its boiler certificate expired in January 2018.

On the Embsay & Bolton Steam Railway the locomotive ran as No 35 Norman and also the fictitious 68005.

In January 2020 it was reported that the locomotive was undergoing an extensive overhaul on the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Railway. It is planned that the locomotive will move to the Spa Valley Railway during the summer of 2020 and remain based there on a long term basis. The locomotive will run in WD blue livery as 73050.

In December 2020 it was reported that following delays in the overhaul caused by the need to follow Corvi-19 lockdown rules it was anticipated that the locomotive would be back in traffic in 2022.

Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn 7086 at Askern Colliery – October 1976
RSH 7086 in store at Rolvenden on the Kent & East Sussex Railway - July 1980.jpg
7086 in store at Rolvenden on the Kent & East Sussex Railway – July 1980
7086 on static display at Tenterden on the Kent & East Sussex Railway – July 1993
Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn 7086.jpg
7086 on the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Railway – May 2015
7086 on the Foxfield Railway – July 2016
7086 at Bolton Abbey on the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway – May 2017

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