A steam locomotive has made a triumphant return to a Norfolk heritage railway for the 2024 season.

No 18, part of the Hunslet “Austerity” Class, was built in 1954 in Leeds for the National Coal Board (NCB), before spending most of its working life at collieries in Fife, Scotland. 

Brought into preservation in 1983, it was sent for overhaul in the late 1980s and it then operated on the North Norfolk Railway from 1988 to 2006.

The loco has recently been thoroughly overhauled by its current owners, Locomotive Maintenance Services in Loughborough, and restored to the green NCB livery it carried at East Fife.

The chimney on the No 18 locoThe chimney on the No 18 loco (Image: G Hukins)

It has just arrived at the North Norfolk Railway for the 2024 season and it will be in action at the Vintage Transport Festival from July 6 to 7.

READ MORE: Vintage Transport Festival returns to North Norfolk Railway

Two steam and two diesel trains will be running on both days, with departures from Sheringham and Holt around every 30 minutes.

Ride on a vintage bus this weekendRide on a vintage bus this weekend (Image: L Caudwell)

There will also be free trips on vintage buses and coaches and The Norfolk Fire Museum will be at Holt Station with a collection of historic vehicles. 

On Sunday only, there will be hundreds of classic cars and motorbikes, with the main display at Holt.

To see the full programme and timetables and to pre-book tickets visit nnrailway.co.uk

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The No 18 loco at Sheringham StationThe No 18 loco at Sheringham Station (Image: G Hukins)

Hunslet “Austerity” Class

In 1942, during the early planning stages for the invasion of Europe, it was realised that a large number of locomotives were needed. 

Robert Riddles was put in charge of the design work and the first loco completed at the Hunslet Works in Leeds was steamed in January 1943.

Following the war, locomotives were used by the army, National Coal Board, British Steel and for many other industrial uses. 

The engines were so successful that construction for industrial use continued until 1964, by which time 464 had been built.