‘LOST’ HUNSLET NEWSTEAD MOVES TO SPA VALLEY BASE
LBSCR line beats off over 20 railways to land shunter that spent decades in a convent.
Hunslet 0-6-0ST Newstead, rediscovered at a remote Hertfordshire convent after it was thought to have been scrapped, could steam in just four years after moving to the Spa Valley Railway.
The 1929-built machine arrived at Tunbridge Wells on October 29. Over 20 preservation sites, stretching from Somerset and midWales to Ayrshire in Scotland, had expressed interest in the locomotive.
It is the furthest south the 16in-cylindered engine has ever travelled. Delivered to Hemsworth Colliery in West Yorkshire during December 1929, Newstead
(Works No. 1589) spent its entire career in the coal industry before being acquired privately for preservation from Woolley Colliery, near Barnsley, in 1973.
It was rediscovered in 2016, a quarter of a century after it was last seen by the mainstream enthusiast community (SR452). It moved to the Nene Valley Railway for assessment, but it was mutually agreed in 2017 that another home would be required for full overhaul to take place.
That overhaul is now expected to get under way immediately at the SVR, picking up pace in January once the overhaul of resident Barclay 0-4-0ST Lady Ingrid is complete. Funding is already in place and it is estimated that Newstead’s overhaul will take around four years to complete.
Volunteer footplateman Alex Alder, who was involved in the initial ‘find’, is now spearheading the restoration. He said: “There was a massive wave of excitement when Newstead was found. It was a disappointment that the overhaul couldn’t go ahead at the Nene Valley and the process of finding the right new home has been slow, but now it’s all systems go.
“We have a core team in place to carry out the overhaul, but
I’d really like more people to get involved. The Spa Valley is an excellent place to volunteer and pick up the skills needed to overhaul a locomotive.”
Regular working parties on Newstead are already being arranged, and potential volunteers are encouraged to contact Alex at email@example.com or 07710 750366.
Another Hunslet 16in-cylinder 0-6-0ST – Ring Haw from the North Norfolk Railway – is due to arrive at the SVR before the start of Christmas operations and is expected to remain there for the 2019 season. It will be making its second trip to the SVR, having appeared on hire during 2017.
Newstead touches down at the Spa Valley Railway on October 29.