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Despite its number and livery, 68005 is not an ex-BR engine, rather a standard Austerity, built by Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn (7169) in 1945, (not Hunslets as many authors would claim!). As with almost all the railway's locomotives, it spent all its life in industrial service prior to preservation.
It came to the railway from the East Somerset Railway, who had acquired it from NCB Swallwell, and converted it to resemble a BR version, taking the number just prior to the BR series. This was one of the first locos to be 'converted' in this manner (now a more common occurrance), and the job was carried out very thoroughly, as can be seen from the photographs.
Being an Austerity design, it is very well suited to the line, as these locos can handle trains superbly, despite the climb from Bolton Abbey, and have been free steaming. It will be interesting to compare its performance against Wheldale, Monckton, No. 8 and 69.
The top picture shows 68005 on the day of Princess Diana's funeral, sat on the coal dock as trains ran to a later timetable. The middle photos show 'the Mog' leaving Bolton Abbey station with Cranford, and also waiting to depart from Embsay. The photo (left), shows 68005 with two of the railway's dogfish hoppers on a ballasting run in preparation for GrantRail and their Ballast Regulator.
2001 saw the loco visiting Barrow Hill Engine Shed for their July events. Pictures are available on their website. It also journeyed to Ruddington, GCR(N), photos appearing from both of these events in the railway press.
68005 successfully operated with very few problems or time out of traffic for close to 12 years after being granted 2 1-year extensions to its boiler certificate. It has now been withdrawn following a burst tube during the last train of the 2006 Harvest of Steam and will require a full overhaul. Whether the loco will remain at Embsay is yet to be decided.
Photos of 68005 undergoing mechanical overhaul at Embsay
More photos of 68005 at Embsay