Wimblebury steps in to help Middleton 50 gala

THE Foxfield Railway has come to the aid of fellow premier industrial heritage line the Middleton Railway to loan a locomotive for its showpiece Last Coals to Leeds event on September 29-30.

Hunslet 0-6-0ST No. 3839 of 1955 Wimblebury was supplied new to the NCB Cannock Wood Colliery near Hednesford and worked there until the early 1970s when it was withdrawn from service.

Wimblebury in action at the Foxfield Railway gala on July 22. IAN SMITH

The colliery closed in 1973 and Wimblebury was bought privately for preservation and moved to the Foxfield Railway in September that year, as spares for another engine.

However, after being fitted with vacuum brakes, Wimblebury was used regularly at Foxfield in the late Seventies. After another 10-yearly overhaul, it returned to steam in July 2017, but was taken out of service and lifted early this year for axlebox repairs but returned to service by summer.

For the galas, Wimblebury will replace Hunslet 0-6-0ST No. 3686 of 1948 No. 60, a former NCB locomotive that was booked as an ideal visitor for this particular event. However, it is no longer available, as the Aln Valley Railway also has a gala the same weekend.

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