Nene Valley’s Danish tank ‘Tinkerbell’ returning to steam

A Danish steam locomotive at the Nene Valley Railway that has not run for more than three decades is now being returned to action by a group of primarily younger volunteers.

Work to overhaul the Danish State Railways Class F 0-6-0T has resumed at Wansford shed after receiving the go-ahead from the Board. Withdrawn in 1986, No. 656 has fortunately been stored undercover for much of that time.

Stripping began in 2005, when a volunteer-led project tackled the overhaul in earnest. However, it stalled in the late-2000s, mainly because of funding.

Being fitted with a bell, the Danish 0-6-0 became affectionately known as ‘Tinkerbell’ by NVR members. ALAN GLADDEN/ NVR ARCHIVES

“It’s one of those projects that’s always been on the cusp of restarting but not happened,” explained Nathan Wilson, one of those leading the current overhaul. When we started the Small Loco Group in 2012, 656 was one we wanted to bring under our wing. We didn’t do a lot with it, but we did ensure the parts were all together and started fundraising.”

The SLG, a group of mainly younger volunteers, focused its efforts on the cosmetic restoration of Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0ST Derek Crouch. The Wissington Light Railway veteran has been transformed from a derelict eyesore into an exhibit which is proudly displayed at Wansford on special occasions.

Impressed with the work carried out on Derek Crouch, the NVR identified the opportunity for 656 to allow locomotive overhaul skills to be secured for the future, as well as providing a boost to the home steam fleet.

Nathan, who heads up the SLG, added: “It’s a great opportunity for younger volunteers to showcase what they can do. Jamie Allen, NVR’s full-time fitter and
I are both aged 27. Also, because it’s so far progressed, we know exactly what needs doing – there are no hidden surprises left, so we can accurately cost it.”

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