War Department (WD) Austerity 2-8-0 90733

Built to a wartime design for use in the war effort, WD 90733 was an integral part of the operating fleet until December 2018 when it was withdrawn for its 10 year overhaul to take place.

Built in January 1945 by The Vulcan Foundry Ltd., Newton-le-Willows, for the war effort, the locomotive was shipped to the continent on completion to aid troop and supplies movement across Europe.

At the cessation of hostilities, it was sold to the Netherlands State Railways where it became their 4300 class no. 4464. In 1953 it was re-sold to the Swedish State Railways and given the classification G11, re-built to Swedish outline and re-numbered 1931, entering service in 1954. It was not operational for long, being withdrawn in October 1956. Some minor restoration work took place prior to it being taken to an isolated forest clearing in northern Sweden where it was stored undercover as part of a strategic reserve until the end of 1972.

In September 1972, 1931 was purchased by the Railway arriving back in UK at Hull on the 12th January 1973 and offloaded at Ingrow the following day. Only a minimal amount of work was necessary to put the locomotive back into service, but in 1976 it was withdrawn due to its general run down condition.

A heavy repair was started in 1993 to rebuild it to as built form and re-number the engine by continuing the series of numbers for repatriated engines on British Railways. The chassis of an original 8 wheel tender was purchased to replace the Swedish 6 wheeler tender and a new tender tank constructed.

Restoration complete, the locomotive finally returned to Haworth on Monday 16th April 2007 and following a period of testing and running-in, it officially re-entered traffic on Monday 23rd July 2007, now numbered in the BR series as 90733, the next number in the BR sequence which ran 90000 – 90732.

With its 10 year boiler certificate expired, 90733 was granted an extension into 2018. Unfortunately, whilst on Santa Steam Special duties in December 2017, cracks were discovered in the boiler tubes and the Railway had to reluctantly withdraw the locomotive from traffic with its latest overhaul starting in early 2019.