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Historic ‘BARBER’ heads for works

Thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant of £49900 and donations large and small from well-wishers, the South Tynedale Railway’s two foot gauge Green’s of Leeds saddle tank will soon be steaming again.

On Thursday 15th September BARBER’s boiler was lifted from the frames for a full professional inspection on Tuesday 20th September at the railway company’s workshops in Alston, Cumbria.

The examination was completed by Graham Morris and revealed that apart from some work to the copper firebox, a new set of tubes and some basic remedial works, the boiler was overall in relatively sound condition.

50% of the £125,000 needed to restore BARBER is now in the bank, with further grant applications in hand and a major fund-raising gala.

The May 2012 Gala event incorporates the NGRS 2012 AGM and will see BARBER joined by the Ex Harrogate Gas Works Railway Peckett, no 2050 of 1944, now based at Statfold Barn Railway, for the first time since 1957.

All being well, BARBER will then travel to Alan Keef’s, Herefordshire workshop in May 2012, when the boiler will be sent to specialist copper firebox engineers for remedial attention.

15 months later, in August 2013, BARBER is scheduled to return to Alston – via Harrogate, Leeds and York – for running-in trials and testing.

Railway volunteer Brian Craven who is leading the restoration drive said, “I am absolutely thrilled that several years’ work is now producing such encouraging results. Further funds are required to guarantee the restoration of this unique icon of the British Industrial Narrow Gauge. However, with continued hard work and financial support I am confident that BARBER will steam again in 2013. The more funds we raise the closer we can get BARBER to 1940’s condition”.

Other information about the restoration is available from:
Brian Craven, Trustee, The BARBER Project, South Tynedale Railway Preservation Society, The Railway Station, Alston. Cumbria. CA9 3JB.

About ‘Barber’

A two foot gauge 0-6-2 saddle-tank with 2 foot 6 inch diameter. driving wheels and I foot 6 inch diameter trailing wheels, it is 20 feet 10 inches long over buffers and weighs 19 tons empty. It employs inside Stephenson valve gear to outside cylinders 10 inches by 16 inches. The working boiler pressure is 155 pounds per square inch. The coal bunker holds half a ton, water capacity is 350 gallons. and the tractive effort 7,000 pounds.

It was built for the Harrogate Gas Works Company. Constructed by Greens of Leeds, a company perhaps more famous for its tram engines and agricultural machinery, it spent its entire working life from 1908 to 1949 on the gas works light railway delivering coal from the North Eastern Railway transfer sidings.

Named as a compliment to the gas works company chairman Francis Barber it was painted green with red buffer beams and brown underframe. By 1944 Barber was in poor mechanical condition and served only as standby locomotive after a Peckett 0-6-0 took over its duties. A Drewry diesel arrived in 1949 and Barber was retired. It stood idle and tired-looking for some years before it was partially restored by the Narrow Gauge Railway Society and presented to Leeds City Museum where it was placed in storage.

In 2004 it was sent to the South Tynedale Railway in Alston, Cumbria with a view to its full restoration. In 2010 the STR acquired ownership of the historic locomotive. When restored it will work through beautiful North Pennine scenery on its home line line that straddles the Cumbria / Northumberland border. Hopefully it will also visit other narrow gauge lines and events.

Posted by Glen Kilday on