Jurassic spark: North Norfolk Railway team help bring 114-year-old steam engine back to life
PUBLISHED: 13:37 02 February 2017 | UPDATED: 14:01 02 February 2017
A historic steam locomotive is on track to return to service later this year after being dismantled and then painstakingly-restored by the team behind the North Norfolk Railway.
Jurassic was built in 1903 for the quarries and cement works of Kaye and Company in Southam in Warwickshire.
The locomotive runs on tracks just two feet wide, which made it a perfect fit for the rails of the Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway (LCLR), who bought the engine in 1961 to transport generations of holidaymakers between the bus terminus at Humberston, near Cleethorpes, with the local beach and holiday camp.
When that location closed in 1985, Jurassic was moved into store and then to the LCLR’s new location in the Skegness Water Leisure Park, close to Butlins, Ingoldmells, north of Skegness.
The line reopened to passengers in 2009, since when the historical significance of its unique collection of rails, locomotives, carriages and wagons from the trench railways of World War One, as well as industry and farms in rural England, has become more widely recognised.
In 2016, the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded Jurassic’s owners, a charitable trust, £43,000 for her restoration and for interpretation of her significance to Britain’s economic and transport history.
The first task was to dismantle Jurassic, with the boiler, firebox and smokebox being sent to the North Norfolk Railway for repair and rebuilding at their workshops in Weybourne, near Sheringham.
The cab, saddle tank (in which water is stored), frames, controls and even her long chimney are under restoration by volunteers from the LCLR Historic Vehicles Trust in the workshops at Skegness.
New components, such as a brass dome cover and other fittings to replace those stolen several years ago, have been manufactured and specialist contractors throughout Lincolnshire are working on some of the other fittings and components essential to Jurassic’s restoration.
The boiler, firebox and smokebox overhauled in the North Norfolk Railway’s workshops have been returned to Skegness, where they were carefully lowered into position in the locomotive’s frames, enabling the next phase of restoration to proceed.
Railway spokesman John Chappell said: “This is a major achievement in returning Jurassic to steam in Skegness and we are grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for their support and to the North Norfolk Railway and their dedicated workforce for restoring the boiler and firebox. There is a lot for our volunteers to do now, to re-assemble the locomotive and to ready her for public services this year.
“In addition, volunteers are upgrading the track, renewing ballast and sleepers. These are substantial tasks for a group of a dozen or so people and we’re hoping that more will join what is an enjoyable and fascinating project to keep alive a unique part of Lincolnshire’s heritage.”