Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn     Works No 7097    WD 75061    No 9 0-6-0ST

RSH 7097 at Fenwick Colliery July 1973.jpg

See LNER class J94 for details.

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 WD75061.

The locomotive was delivered new to the War Department at the Melbourne Military Railway in Derbyshire in November 1943 for storage. It was then loaned to the Ministry of Fuel & Power to be used at Upper Portland opencast mine at Kirkby in Ashfield in January 1946.

A few months later in September 1946 the locomotive was redeployed at Bluebell Inn opencast mine at Backworth in Northumberland.

Around 1952 the engine was based at Killingworth shed in Northumberland where by October 1954 it was stored.

In October 1955 the locomotive was sent to Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn for repairs before being sent to Widdrington opencast mine in Northumberland in 1956.

In 1958 it was moved to Newbattle coal stacking site at Newtongrange in Midlothian.

It was next employed at Backworth opencast mine in June 1961 and then North Walbottle Colliery at Westerhope in Northumberland in July 1961.

In August 1965 the locomotive visted Ashington workshops before moving on to Burradon Colliery at Dudley in Northumberland in December 1965 where it worked as No 9 until January 1971.

It was then observed at Eccles Colliery at Backworth in December 1971. At Backworth it also spent time at Fenwick Colliery.

The NCB Colliery at at Backworth in Northumberland at 1,440 feet deep was the deepest in the Northumberland Coalfield. Here the locomotive ran as No 9. It was one of the last to operate steam locomotives but this locomotive along with the others still operating there were withdrawn from service in 1976.

The locomotive was sold to the Strathspey Railway in June 1976 and moved there in three months later.

It last ran on the Strathspey Railway until the late 2000s when it was taken out of service following the expiry of the boiler certificate. It was stored at Boat of Garten whilst it awaited an overhaul.

By November 2020 the locomotive was at Aviemore undergoing a heavy overhaul. The cab was off and the tubes out of the boiler ready for the boiler to be removed. Work is required around the firebox to rectify previous repair attempts. The intention is to restore the locomotive as it ran at Backworth in the early 70s.

7097 crosses the former Blyth and Tyne railway at Earsdon Junction between Fenwick and Eccles pit Backworth – Late 1960s or early 1970s
RSH 7097 at Fenwick Colliery July 1973.jpg
 7097 at Fenwick Colliery – July 1973
RSH 7097 at Backworth Colliery - August 1975.jpg
7097 at Backworth Colliery – August 1975
Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn 7097.jpg
7097 at Boat of Garten on the Strathspey Railway – July 1996
7097 at Aviemore on the Strathspey Railway – August 2018

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