LNER J21 No. 65033
Built by the North Eastern Railway in 1889 as one of 201 locomotives of the same class, designed by T.W Worsdell (later to be rebuilt by his brother, Wilson), No. 65033 is now the only survivor.
That it exists at all is remarkable, given that it was first withdrawn from service in 1939 and only reinstated due to the desperate shortage of motive power brought about by the Second World War.
During its working life No. 65033 is believed to have worked exclusively in the North East, although other members of the class were much more widely travelled, particularly during wartime.
Originally built as a ‘Compound’ (meaning it used its steam twice) as NER No. 876, the 0-6-0 was converted to ‘Simple’ format early in the 20th Century. It was absorbed by the newly-formed London & North Eastern Railway in 1923, becoming No. 5033, and gained its present number on the railways’ nationalisation in 1948.
Finally withdrawn in 1962, more than 20 years after it was first put aside, No. 65033 was by now a celebrity enthusiasts’ engine. Its importance meant it was initially reserved for the National Collection.
However, the ‘J21’ was dropped from the list (because it was no longer in as-built condition), and only saved due to the foresight and courage of Frank Atkinson, the first director of Beamish. The engine subsequently became a jewel in the open-air museum’s crown, being ridden on by Sir John Betjeman at the opening of the ‘Rowley’ station scene in 1976. Despite this, the locomotive has not steamed since 1984.
In order to ensure a sustainable future for this unique asset, Beamish transferred the ‘J21’ to the newly-formed LCLT in March 2009. The Trust’s intention is to restore it to working order sympathetically and authentically, as befits a locomotive approaching its 125th birthday. Once running, No. 65033 will be available to tour Britain’s steam railways.
How to help
The Locomotive Conservation and Learning Trust
The LCLT is a charity registered in England and Wales, No. 1129893