Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn     Works No 7597 Zebedee 0-6-0T

RSH 7597 at C.E.G.B. Rye House power station near Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, in the late 1960s..jpg

This locomotive was built in 1949 by Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn and its industrial life was spent at the Rye House Power Station on the Lea Valley in Essex.

The power station was opened in 1953 and it was closed in November 1982. The locomotive carried the number ED6 there and classmate RSH 7598 number ED7. ED7 was subsequently scrapped but some parts were used on 7597.

The locomotive was bought into preservation by the 7597 Fund who then merged with the Lea Valley Railway Preservation Society but kept the name 7597 Fund. In 1971 the locomotive was moved to the Chapel & Wakes Colne Railway which in 1968 had become the East Anglian Railway Museum.

The locomotive was then returned to steam.

In 1975 the owning group changed their name to the Railway Vehicle Preservations and in 1981 it became a limited company.

In 1981 sought to change their home base and selected to move to the Great Central Railway (GCR) which offered 5 miles of former main line railway to operate 7597 and the operational stock on

For the next 8 years RVP members worked not only to restore its own collection but maintained the growing fleet of mark 1 vehicles owned by the GCR.

In 1989 the GCR began employing paid staff to maintain the service coaches. This enabled RVP members to return to restoring its own collection, and much more rapid progress was made.

Around the same time the GCR built Rothley carriage shed, and RVP moved there from Loughborough in 1991.

It is believed that the locomotive acquired the name Zebedee whilst based at the GCR (Zebedee was a character in the Magic Roundabout who was an immortal wise, wizard who had the fire powers and a spring in replacement for his legs and hence jumped around). It is worth noting that the locomotive had an unusual coil-spring suspension. Below is a quote from a volunteer on the GCR.

“I knew the loco as Zebedee at the Great Central in the late 1980-90 when I volunteered there. Where it was generally referred to by that name by all volunteers. I believe the name was given to it because of the uneven power delivered on (Dinning) trains resulting in a jerky ride. It made delivery of the soup in particular challenging (well that was our excuse). It may have originally related to the spring arrangement but certainly the catering volunteers thought it was because of the ride.”

After a period on loan to other railways (notably Peak Rail and Bodmin Steam Railway) the locomotive was sold to Peak Rail in 2001.

In 2014 the locomotive moved to the Lincolnshire Wolds Railway.

Restoration work then restarted in earnest. The locomotive was stripped down to basic component parts and the chassis and axle boxes received attention. The frames were then re-united with the wheels and a start made on machining of new bearings for the motion. All the valve gear was overhauled and refitted and the cab and bunker prepared for painting.

By the Autumn of 2018 work on the bottom end of the locomotive was virtually complete.

In January 2020 it was reported that the boiler would be overhauled at the Lincolnshire Wolds Railway.

RSH 7597 at C.E.G.B. Rye House power station near Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, in the late 1960s..jpg
7597 at CEGB. Rye House power station near Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, in the late 1960s.
7597 at Chappel & Wakes, Colne (Later the East Anglia Railway Museum) with a Grafton steam crane – September 1973
7597 on the Great Central Railway – March 1988
RSH 7597 on the Great Central railway - December 1988.jpg
7597 on the Great Central Railway – December 1988
7597 at Loughborough on the Great Central Railway – 1991
7597 at Bodmin on the Bodmin & Wenford Railway – August 1995

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