Furness 0-4-0 saddle tank No. 25 goes ‘home’ to trust

FURNESS Railway 0-4-0ST No. 25 has been donated to the Furness Railway Trust. No. 25 is an unrestored sister locomotive to the trust’s A5 class 0-4-0 tender engine No. 20.

When the type became obsolete on the Furness Railway, they were sent back to maker Sharp Stewart and converted into industrial saddle tanks for use at the Barrow Haematite Steel Co. at Barrow, then the biggest iron and steelworks in the world. Rendered redundant in the early Sixties, they were donated by the firm to local schools and plinthed for static display.

No. 20 was acquired by the trust and back-converted into its original form as a tender engine with the aid of a £97,000 Lottery grant, and was formally relaunched into service by Lady Grania Cavendish at a ceremony on the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway on April 20, 1999.

No. 25 ended up spending years at the former Steamtown museum in Carnforth, until it was acquired by the late Bert Hitchen, who intended to restore it to steam in its latter-day saddle tank format, to provide a contrast with No. 20.

No. 25 has now been donated to the trust by Bert’s estate. Subject to a conservation inspection, the FRT intends to follow Bert’s vision and restore the new acquisition in its steelworks guise.

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