"Cumbria" was the Furness Railway Trust's first steam locomotive.
It ran well beyond the magical 100,000 miles on the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway - almost certainly the first standard gauge former industrial locomotive in the country to achieve such a feat, before moving home to its new base, the Ribble Steam Railway in Preston, from where it has been made available on hire, most lately to the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway in Yorkshire.
"Cumbria" has had to be be withdrawn from traffic slightly prematurely for its 10 yearly heavy general overhaul because of the need for firebox repairs.
A previous welded repair to the copper inner firebox tubeplate has failed, and after metallurgical investigations by the FRT's boiler inspector, it has been decided that the best course of action will be to insert a new section of copper plate - namely a new firebox tubeplate - as there is no guarantee that another weld would be any more successful.
Given the scale of this work, and the fact that the locomotive would only have another year or so before it would require its 10 year overhaul, it has been decided to bring that forward and do that work at the same time.
Decisions are still to be made about who will carry out the specialist copper firebox repair but the locomotive has been moved back to its Preston base and work is well advanced stripping the locomotive down ready for the contract work .
The FRT would like to see "Cumbria" back in action by 2012.
"Cumbria" had followed in the wake of 5643 - going on a 12 month hire to the E&BASR in the Yorkshire Dales from spring 2010. This is the railway where 5643 hauled Santa Specials in the final weeks of 2009, and is now performing the same duties there in 2010!
This was the first time the pair have been in steam at the same time at the same site. It is fitting that this was achieved at the RSR, the heritage line that is offering the FRT space to create a restoration workshop and museum.
As with the previous September's gala, the RSR operated the Trust locomotives with resident Hunslet Austerity "Walkden" and former North Cumbrian gypsum Barclay "John Howe".
"Cumbria" also found work taking children to meet Father Christmas at the end of 2009, in its case in the deep south on the Cholsey and Wallingford Railway in Oxfordshire. It is seen here exchanging greetings with famous new build Pacific "Tornado" when the latter passed Cholsey on 7th November.
There is a full history of the locomotive elsewhere on this website. It was built in 1953, and had an amazingly leisurely first 20 years of its life in Army service, before being bought by members of the Lakeside Railway Society in 1974. It was named after the new local authority created in the area that year.
Since then, ownership has passed to the Furness Railway Trust.
"Cumbria" became a stalwart of L&HR services - accounting for around 40% of the total passenger mileage recorded on the three-and-a-half-mile railway. It was ideally suited to the challenging run coping admirably with 200 tonne plus trains on gradients up to 1 in 70.
Since 1995 "Cumbria" has run in Furness Railway livery, carrying the number FR 150, in conjunction with the 150th anniversary celebrations of the FR in 1996. This colour scheme of course matches the Trust's Furness Railway Number 20, the oldest working standard gauge steam locomotive in the country.
Please contact us if you wish to hire this workhorse after its overhaul is complete.
"Cumbria" is extremely popular with crews.
©Furness Railway Trust 2011