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The Furness Railway Trust's Great Western Railway 0-6-2T Number 5463 is spending 2016 where it was for much of 2015 - at the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway in Yorkshire.

The locomotive spent 2014 at the Bluebell Railway before three gala appearances in quick succession at the start of 2015, at the East Lancashire Railway, the FRT's home at the Ribble Steam Railway where the loco had a partial repaint, and at the West Somerset Railway.

In this Steve Lee photo, 5643 passes the long-closed West Hoathly station with the vintage set on 16th March 20145643 on the Bluebell's Golden Arrow dining train
5643 was been a popular addition to the Bluebell Railway locomotive fleet, with crews and lineside photographers praising the able and well presented locomotive. 

The visit to the Bluebell came after a brief stay at the Great Central Railway for the Winter Steam Gala there. The locomotive was hired in as one of the star turns at the event.

Other guests at the Loughborough line on January 24-26 included BR 9F 92214, and Austerity No. 22, as well as the resident fleet including Britannia "Oliver Cromwell" and King Arthur "Sir Lamiel".

This was 5643's second visit to the Great Central Railway. 

These three pictures courtesy York Loco Images

5643 during the 2014 GCR gala
5643 was used on frieght as well as passenger turns The weekend included some stormy weather...

5643's first year back after overhaul (the first in preservation) saw the engine hauling trains at the Ribble Steam Railway, the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway in the Derbyshire Peak District and 7 months at the Severn Valley Railway.

Back in action, hauling passenger trains, on the Ribble Steam Railway - at this point still without full lining and crests

And meeting fellow GW stablemate 1501 at the Severn Valley Railway, the line that used 5643 for the bulk of 2013.

The boiler had received specialist attention with contractors in Loughborough. FRT volunteers overhauled reassembled the locomotive and it passed in steam boiler test in time for the locomotive to return to action hauling passenger trains on Easter Saturday.

5643 had been withdrawn from service in October 2011 after developing some weeping around some boiler tubes and stays as well as a broken rivet in the foundation ring. Although the locomotive still had two years to go on its 10 yearly boiler "ticket", the need to lift the boiler to address the rivet meant the best way forward was to bring forward the heavy general overhaul. 

So now 5643 is back to doing what it does best....

5643 and FR20 together outside the Locomotion museum5643 had ended its first stint back in preservation at the Wensleydale Railway where it was on hire for the summer and autumn of 2011. It also visited Locomotion, the National Railway Museum at Shildon, County Durham, for the GWR-themed Steam Gala. This record-breaking event saw the loco pair up with the FRT's flagship engine Furness Railway Number 20, the first time the pair have been together since 2007.

5643 was one of the stars of the event, which also featured record-breaking GWR 4-4-0 "City of Truro". 5643 hauled some of the shuttle trains on the Locomotion running line which links the main museum building and the Hackworth Museum/main entrance, on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.

5643 had started 2011 at Embsay undergoing work to replace the valves in the steam chest after a snow-affected Santas Special season at the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway. The work was completed in time to return 5643 to Llangollen for the spring gala in April.

The 1925-built locomotive was returned to front-line action in September 2006, and spent the bulk of its operational service at the Llangollen Railway.

The engine has seen action as a star turn at gala weekends and other special events from the Barry Island Railway to the North Norfolk, the East Lancashire to the Severn Valley Railway! In 2007 alone it clocked up nine separate gala appearances!

If you wish to hire this powerful and beautifully turned-out locomotive, please contact us.

For full details of where 5643 is, and is planned to be, and when, please see our page on its current whereabouts and future programme. We also have a page charting its exploits on tour and another looking at its history.

The haze at the chimney shows 5643 is alive again!There is also details of the 18 year restoration programme.

On Sunday 16th October 2005, the first test steaming of the nearly completed locomotive was carried out. The locomotive is seen here raising steam outside the goods shed in the yard at Haverthwaite that morning.

At 2.15pm, with Trust Chairman Tim Owen and 5643 Project Leader Keith Brewer on the footplate, the regulator was opened and the engine moved off smoothly in the yard at Haverthwaite, to cheers from assembled volunteers.

The Trust has had to raise every penny of the £100,000 cost of the restoration, through donations and a variety of fund-raising methods. Volunteers put in many thousands of hours of labour, often in the open air, to return the locomotive to working order.

5643 is the Trust's third operational steam locomotive, joining Austerity Cumbria and Furness Railway Number 20.

5643 was built at the Great Western Railway's Swindon Works in October 1925. It spent its entire working life in South Wales, and was withdrawn from Barry Shed in July 1963, moving the short distance to the now famous Woodham's scrapyard in Barry. Woodham's did not scrap 5643 and over 200 other steam locomotives, thus saving them for preservation. Over 100 of this number have now been returned to steam.


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Great Western Railway 0-6-2T 5643