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With the RSR's "Walkden" doubleheading at the RSR September 2009 gala"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!

Now it has clocked up two consecutive gala appearance at the Ribble Steam Railway in Preston, co-starring in the February 2010 event alongside FRT stablemate 5643.

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 last September's gala, the RSR operated the Trust locomotives with resident Hunslet Austerity "Walkden" and former North Cumbrian gypsum Barclay "John Howe".

Cumbria meets TornadoNext move for "Cumbria" is to follow in the wake of 5643 - the engine is going on 12 month hire to the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Railway in the Yorkshire Dales from spring 2010. This is the railway where 5643 hauled Santa Specials in the final weeks of 2009.

"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.

Awaiting the off from Cholsey StationThere is a full history of the locomotive further down the page.

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 for use on the L&HR 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.

"Cumbria" stripped down during the repaint FRT Member Alan Johnstone lining out the wheels The finished result - resplendent!

"Cumbria" is extremely popular with crews.

History of "Cumbria"

"Cumbria" was built to the wartime "Austerity" design, slightly modified by Mr. R.A. Riddles, by the Hunslet Engine Co. of Leeds in 1953. It carries works number 3794.

"Cumbria" shows typical character as it climbs the fearsome Backbarrow bank on the Lakeside and Haverthwaite railway.The locomotive was delivered as WD 194 to the Longmoor Army Stores Depot in southern England as part of the Strategic War Reserve. Despite being brand new, it was immediately put into store! Two years later, in 1955 when the Stores Depot closed, the engine was transferred to Bicester in Oxfordshire where it was put into traffic in 1958. After ten years of service, it was completely overhauled and retubed before being put back into store again!

This time, though, it was only a matter of months before the engine was transferred to the Weapons Testing Depot at Shoeburyness in Essex to replace another locomotive, whose firebox had been condemned. Its days at Shoeburyness were very leisurely: the locomotive was only steamed once every twelve weeks, the main duty being to haul the 50 tons Cowan Sheldon steam crane when gun barrels needed changing on the gunnery ranges. After a quiet career with the Army, the locomotive was purchased from the Ministry of Defence in July 1973 by the Lakeside Railway Society.

It arrived at Haverthwaite in September of that year, still bearing the khaki Army livery and the number 94, and entered traffic in 1974 after being fitted with the Alan Middleton vacuum equipment.

The engine was painted maroon and named "Cumbria" by Councillor Tim Westall, the Chairman of the then newly formed Cumbria County Council, at Haverthwaite on 11th May 1974.

It became the mainstay of the locomotive fleet on the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway, covering over one hundred thousand miles on the three and a half mile line. This represents over forty per cent of the locomotive mileage since the L&HR reopened to passenger traffic in 1973.

Weighing 48 tons 5 cwts, it has two inside 18" by 26" cylinders and a tractive effort of 23,870 lbs. This makes it ideal for handling five and six coach trains, although it has on occasions been called upon to haul eight fully laden coaches on busy days.

Cumbria was repainted into the livery of the Furness Railway in 1995 to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of that railway company. This has proved to be a popular decision, and the paint scheme complements that of the Trust's 1863 built Furness Railway Number 20 when they double-head trains together.


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Austerity 0-6-0ST "Cumbria"