Welcome to Norfolk Steam Loco, the website of Norfolk Heritage Steam Railway Ltd., formed early in 2009 by a small group of enthusiasts in order to acquire, restore and operate an iconic steam locomotive. Austerity No.3193 ran in public for the first time at Bressingham Steam Museum's grand Steam Gala on 4th-6th May 2019, and then went to the Nene Valley Railway for additional work on braking and steam heat systems before being run in and then hauling service trains. She returned to our Bressingham base in August 2020. She has recently been seen hauling passenger trains on the Northampton & Lamport Railway and the Colne Valley Railway, and is in full working order with vacuum brakes and steam heat.
At the beginning of 2023, having brought our project to a successful conclusion, we were delighted to transfer ownership of 3193 "Norfolk Regiment" to our friends at the Northampton & Lamport Railway. She will now be a permanent resident there, and we know she will continue to receive the care and attention she needs and to bring pleasure to railway enthusiasts, steam-lovers and the general public for many years to come.
Similar loco, photo courtesy of the P H Groom Collection
Why did we choose this loco? Click here.
The locomotive arrived at our Norfolk base early in May 2009, and work progressed steadily but very slowly. The old rusty bunker was removed and a new one built and installed. The saddle tank was repaired, and all the other "bodywork" sections cleaned up and painted in primer. Our members completed the arduous task of drilling out over 600 old firebox stays before the new inner firebox could be fitted, which with a complete set of new boiler tubes would give us a boiler ready and certificated for at least ten years' hard work. Work completed, the boiler passed its hydraulic test and its out-of-frames steam test, and just before Christmas 2016 it was craned onto the frames. Then we reassembled the saddle tank and cab, installed boiler lagging and cladding, and attached all the boiler fittings to the backhead.
We took apart, inspected, repaired where necessary, and reassembled the valves, pistons, motion, axleboxes, brakes, springs - pretty much everything that moves, really - in order to create a chassis complete and ready to run; we then moved it up and down its short length of track to make sure everything functioned properly. We had a new ashpan made, and a brand new smokebox was fitted complete with its blastpipe, main steam pipe and blower ring. Inside the firebox, an elegant "brick arch" is in place, actually made of pre-cast concrete sections. New firebars were cast by a local foundry who just happened to have the right mould for our loco, which is surprising as historically no Austerities ever ran in Norfolk!
Though we found a number of smaller components that needed repair or replacement and some bearing surfaces that had to be recoated with white metal and machined to profile, we were happy to see that basically the loco was in remarkably good condition. We installed a new and improved version of the old axlebox lubrication system using standard and easily sourced plumbing components, though still relying on the traditional syphon wicks. For the valve chest and cylinders, however, we installed a small mechanical lubricator with a specially designed drive mechanism.
The loco carries the number 3193 (its original builder's number) and the name "Norfolk Regiment". One thing we were clear about - she would definitely not carry her old NCB livery, which was a very unattractive pale blue. For showing the dirt, it would be hard to imagine anything worse! Instead we have painted her black, as she was when working on the Cairnryan Military Railway in 1952-3, and lettered her for the War Department although we have had to guess the actual positions of the letters and numbers as there are no photographs to be found.
There are a couple of excellent Youtube videos of 3193 in action to be found by clicking here and here.
STOP PRESS! Our locomotive now has a book about its restoration! Written by David Bramhall, it tells the story of how a group of enthusiasts bought the loco as a kit of parts, shipped it to deepest Norfolk on four separate lorries, and then spent the next ten years working out how to put it together!
The book has just enough technical explanation, some excellent illustrations and amusing anecdotes, and doesn't pull any punches, either - we were frequently puzzled, made some pretty stupid mistakes and required a lot of guidance. Luckily we found plenty of expert advice and assistance without which 3193 would not be running today. You can buy it here.
Copyright © 2011 Norfolk Heritage Steam Railway Ltd.
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