No. 40 Steam Locomotive

No. 40 was built by Robert Stephenson and Hawthorn Ltd. of Newcastle, in 1954. It was one of a pair (numbers 39 and 40) supplied to the National Coal Board that were specifically designed for working passenger trains on the once extensive NCB system at Ashington in Northumberland. Their duty was the conveyance of miners to the various collieries within the system, a task they performed until being replaced by diesels in the late 1960s.​

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No. 39 was scrapped, but No. 40 was more fortunate and went to the North Norfolk Railway for preservation. The locomotive was soon resold and moved to the Colne Valley Railway in 1974. It is finished in lined out BR black. The loco was situated on the Colne Valley Railway in Essex, prior to purchase by the Weardale Railway Trust in 2006.

Photo: John Lewin

At present No. 40 is undergoing a thorough overhaul. The largest component is the rebuild of the boiler. This has entailed replacement of a large part of the barrel and a new front plate, firebox and ash tray. It will be fitted with new stays and tubes. The work is being carried out by McEwens Boilersmiths, near Skipton. The work has taken far longer than we expected, but it is nearing completion and we can expect the boiler back and reunited with its frame soon.

Work underway on the boiler at McEwans Boilersmiths. Photo: Peter Baker

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Back at the Wolsingham depot, the loco has been stripped for repainting, which has been started, the axle horn guides and axle boxes have been refurbished, a new spring hanger fitted, new pistons made and fitted, the valve guides rebushed and the valves retimed. The frame has been reset on its wheels and the motion refitted.When the boiler is returned, there will be a few months work to do, but we are hopeful that we will see the loco running on the railway in 2023.

Work underway on the fireplate at McEwans Boilersmiths. Photo: Peter Baker