WD 3672 was built by the North British Locomotive Company, Glasgow in 1944 for use by the British Army. Within a few months of being completed it was re-numbered as WD 73672 and shipped to Egypt with 15 others and placed in store. By October1945 the 16 locomotives were declared surplus to requirements and sold to the Hellenic State Railways of Greece, being shipped to Salonika in January 1946.
73672 was renumbered Lb960 and based in the Salonika division where it was used on main line passenger duties, including the Athens to Istanbul Express. Displaced by new diesels in 1967, it was relegated to secondary work until withdrawn from service in 1979. Together with 90775 and an American S160 it was purchased by a group of Mid-Hants members and returned to the UK. It was then sold to Mr. D. Milham for his Lavender Line at Isfield, in East Sussex, where it arrived in August 1984. After some repairs it was named Dame Vera Lynn, renumbered 3672 and commissioned on 6 August, 1985 by the Dame herself.
Early in 1986 Mr. Milham decided that the locomotive was too large for his short line and it was bought by Clifford Brown, a British-born businessman living in Virginia, U.S.A. After visiting several British preserved railways, Mr. Brown decided that he wished the locomotive to be based on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR) and it duly arrived at Pickering in December 1986.
After a thorough examination at Grosmont it was realized that a very full restoration would be required before the locomotive could safely run. The Railway was given the contract to restore the locomotive but boiler repairs proved much more extensive and difficult than at first anticipated. Its first trial run was in April 1989 and by August it was heading that year’s mileage table.
It consistently achieved high annual mileage figures and proved that it could handle anything that the Operating Department could demand of it, including a number of 10-coach trains. In November 1998, having amassed well over 100,000 miles on the NYMR, it was taken out of traffic for a much needed overhaul.
After an appearance at NRM’s Railfest in 2004, The Dame returned to NYMR and took its place in the queue for overhaul. In 2013 an appeal was launched to raise the funds to cover the expense of the overhaul.
Finally, in 2016, a working party got together and the stripping of The Dame started.
By May 2021 £175,000 of the £600,000 appeal had been received. The funds available so far has allowed work on the tender to start at Riley & Son (E) Ltd at Heywood. It is hoped that the overhaul of the locomotive will be completed by 2024 or 2025.
|Home Base||Current Status||Owner|
|North Yorkshire Moors Railway||Under overhaul||North Yorkshire Moors Railway|