This is 5643, doing what it does best....
The Furness Railway Trust's Great Western Railway 0-6-2T Number 5643 is currently at the Ribble Steam Railway in Preston.
After starring at the line's Steam Gala on February 6th and 7th, and appearing in a freight photo charter - the first time that 5643 has been "on the coals" since 1960, the locomotive is staying on at the RSR for the FRT to carry out its annual boiler examination, and to allow it to haul Easter services from Preston Riverside station.
It is seen here in gala action on a top-and-tailed service from the RSR's main base alongside the excellent museum building.
The loco is due to return to the Llangollen Railway in North Wales in April 2010 for the majority of the rest of the year - however STOP PRESS it is visiting the Midland Railway - Butterley in May for the Vintage Train weekend and then the 1960s weekend there.
The 1925-built locomotive was returned to front-line action in September 2006. , and has spent the bulk of its operational service since then at the Llangollen Railway where it has been on a rolling annual hire.
However this is not an exclusive deal, and 5643 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.
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 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.
©Furness Railway Trust 2010