Constructed by Sharp Stewart & Co to order 440, this 0-4-0 tender locomotive was one of a batch of eight locomotives constructed for the Furness Railway. It was completed in 1863 and is the country’s oldest working steam locomotive.This locomotive is currently based at Shildon.

The rapid growth of traffic on the Furness Railway in the 1860′s resulted in these small four wheeled engines soon becoming obsolescent. In 1870 the first six of the class, F.R. Nos. 17, 18, 19, 20, 25 and 26 were sold to the Barrow Haematite Steel Co. at Barrow. It continued in traffic until 1960 when diesel locomotives were introduced, it completed 90 years service at the steelworks, and just 3 years short of its centenary! Instead of being scrapped, the two remaining former F.R. machines were presented to local schools. BHSC No. 7 stood in the grounds of the George Hastwell Special School in Abbey Road, Barrow for over twenty years, until it was purchased privately in 1983 and moved to the Steamtown Railway Museum at Carnforth in Lancashire. Following a grant of 97,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund and contributions from other groups, the Furness Railway Trust were able to begin the overhaul in earnest. The stripped down frames and motion of F.R. No. 20 were delivered to the Barrow-in-Furness workshops of Marconi Marine (V.S.E.L.) on 18th December 1996. After a total rebuild, including the construction of a new boiler and tender, the locomotive emerged two years later on 17th December 1998, resplendent in Furness Railway Indian Red livery.

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© Ribble Steam Railway 2017

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