J21 restoration project makes January start for 2022 target

NEARLY two years after announcing that it had secured Heritage Lottery Fund support to restore the now unique J21 0-6-0 No. 65033, its owners are finally beginning the work.

Since receiving a £954,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant in March 2016, the Locomotive Conservation and Learning Trust has been awaiting formal permission to start the restoration of North Eastern Railway J21 No. 65033. Having finalised all the required legal aspects, permission to commit the funds was granted in early December.

J21 0-6-0 No. 65033 at the Locomotion museum in Shildon in 2011. RICHARD PEARSON/NRM

LCLT chairman Toby Watkins said: “It has been frustrating, but the nature of the partnership between ourselves and the Stainmore Railway Company meant that there were a number of points that had to be finalised with the HLF before we could begin work.

“Until such time that we could announce the formal project start, we have been in limbo. We can now launch our fundraising and publicity campaigns in earnest.

The very day permission was granted I posted documents to several contractors inviting bids to carry out the restoration. They have until January 18 to respond with a fully detailed and costed bid. We will waste no time in awarding a contract to the winning bidder, so it’s possible that it’ll be out of Shildon by the end of the month.”

He remained tight-lipped on who the selected contractors were.

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