The MSLR is to have four resident steam locomotives for the main season next year – with the addition to the fleet of a main line engine.
In 2016 former LNER class Y7 No. 985 will be based at Brockford and be available for steam operating days throughout the year.
The privately owned 0-4-0T is currently at the North Norfolk Railway but is not powerful enough to operate their services. However it is of a perfect size for the MSLR.
Originally a North Eastern Railway (NER) design, for which it was the H class, 24 Y7s were built of which two survive.
They had a short wheelbase designed for shunting around tight curves and had two inside, 14inch cylinders operated by Joy valve gear.
No. 985 was built in 1923 at Darlington and was therefore never owned by the NER. The original work for these engines was around Tyneside, Hull docks and at Darlington works. No. 985 was also recorded working at the LNER’s Stratford works.
The engine was renumbered 8088 in 1946, was sold to the National Coal Board (NCB) in 1952 before being preserved in 1964.
No. 985 will be the first main line engine, that is one built for a main line railway and not industrial use, to visit the MSLR since ex-London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LB&SCR) A1 class No. 62 Martello ran on the line in 2007.
It will also be just the second ex-LNER loco to run at the ‘Middy’ in preservation, after J15 class No. 65462 visited in 2002 for the line’s first heritage operations.