The Mid-Norfolk Railway is pleased to announce that United Steel Company No.22, a Hunslet 0-6-0 Austerity saddle tank engine, has arrived at the railway for the 2022 running season.
The steam engine will spend the season working in rotation with long-time Mid-Norfolk Railway resident BR Standard 4-6-2 class 4MT tank engine 80078 on the railway’s steam days.
The steam engine is privately owned and is joining the railway from its current home Scunthorpe. Built in 1956 for the National Coal Board by the Hunslet Engine Company using a design first used by the War Office in World War Two it is therefore considered to a be an Austerity type locomotive.
The engine began its working life at the Graig Merthyr Colliery in South Wales where it was used till June 1978 when the colliery closed. At the colliery it worked between the Graig Merthyr Colliery and the exchange sidings on the the Swansea District line at Graig Merthyr Colliery Sidings.
Following the closure of the colliery the locomotive remained in the Graig Merthyr engine shed until 1986. It was then moved to the Cefn Coed Colliery Museum at Crynant near Neath to act has the Gate Guardian.
In 1997, the locomotive was purchased by Chris Theaker to become part of the Appleby-Frodingham Railway Preservation Society. The locomotive was moved by the society to the former British Steel site at Scunthorpe where its restoration was started and it returned to steam in 2010.
The steam engine during restoration was given its current identity as United Steel Company Limited No.22 and a crimson livery. The engine has previously visited the Rutland Railway Museum at Cottesmore, a former Iron Ore line, where the original No.22 worked. It has also seen service on the Nene Valley Railway, the Embasy & Bolton Abbey Railway and the Great Central Railway.
Commenting on the season long loan Mr Theaker said: “I am please we could come to an agreement with the Mid-Norfolk Railway, that will see the engine in service on another heritage railway and the revenue earnt will contribute to the Society’s on going restoration projects”.