The Mid-Norfolk Railway is pleased to announce the arrival of a Edwardian steam locomotive, GWR 813 Saddle Tank, for the 2021 running season.
The steam locomotive was originally built for the Port Talbot Railway & Docks Company and entered service in 1901. This means it is one of the oldest preserved steam engines still running in the UK.
The locomotive was originally one of nine 0-6-0 saddle tanks that was built for the Port Talbot Railway company in Wales and originally was numbered 26, it is however the sole survivor of the nine engines and is therefore unique in steam locomotive preservation.
In 1922, the Port Talbot Railway & Docks Company was taken over by the Great Western Railway and the engine was re numbered 813, the number that is still used to this day.
Today the engine is owned by ‘The GWR 813 Preservation Fund’, which is an organisation that was founded in 1966 to buy and then restore the engine. It is usually based at the Severn Valley Railway.
“The railway is delighted to welcome this historic engine to East Anglia, it will join our resident Standard BR Class 4 MT steam engine on our steam timetable and will be a unique opportunity to see an important and rare survivor of the early 20th Century British railway industry.” George Saville, General Manager Mid-Norfolk Railway
813 was originally built to haul coal trains and carry out shunt duties at colliery sidings in South Wales, before being sold in 1933 to to Robert Stephenson & Company, who sold steam engine to Backworth Collieries Limited in Northumberland.
In 1947 following the nationalisation of the coal industry 813 passed into the ownership of the National Coal Board before being sold into preservation in 1967. Today 813 runs in the livery of the Great Western Railway.
The railway plans to run 813 on passengers services beginning on Saturday 17 July [Update 16th July: unfortunately 813 will not be running on 17th & 18th July, 80078 will be running instead]. Tickets are available from the Mid-Norfolk Railway website.
813, replaces the privately-owned War Department Austerity 0-6-0 Saddle tank engine, Swiftsure, that has been resident on the railway for some years but has now moved to the Forest of Dean Railway.