In latest Midnight Blue livery, 2011
|Built by||Cockerill, Seraing|
|2006||Acquired for WHR|
|2009||Entered WHR Service|
|Length||49 ft 2 in|
History in South Africa
87 was built by John Cockerill of Seraing, Belgium for South African Railways to their 2-6-2+2-6-2T NGG16 Garratt design. This loco was fourth of the first batch of NGG16s built in 1936. It carries the works number 3267.
87 spent the first part of its working life in South Africa on the Avontuur line. Following the arrival of the Class 91 diesels in 1973, the Class NGG16s there were transferred to Natal. At the time of closure in 1986, locomotives No. 87, 109, 113 and 153 were on shed at Ixopo. 109 later found its way to Exmoor, where it stayed until its purchase by Pete Waterman, while 113 and 153 were sold to the Midmir Historical Village in Natal, where they remained until 1998 when both locomotives passed into the ownership of the Sandstone Heritage Trust. Both 113 and 153 are now operational on the Sandstone Steam Railroad.
Preservation in the UK
87 subsequently found its way to the Exmoor Steam Railway from where it was acquired by the WHR in 2006. The purchase of the Robin Hood's Bay NGG16s had not been pursued at the time of the NG15 purchase owing to their condition. However, a donation was made to the Festiniog Railway Trust by a private sponsor for this specific locomotive cover the costs of purchase and overhaul.
To the WHR
The addition of this locomotive made sure that there was an adequate fleet in place ready for opening of the complete WHR in 2009, giving three working NGG16s to form the core WHR fleet. The overhaul was completed at Boston Lodge, largely using paid staff and the project was managed by Steve Macullum.
Number 87 arrived at Minffordd Yard on the morning of 4 February 2006, with the boiler unit being transferred to Boston Lodge the same day. In April 2007 the boiler was taken off the carrier frame and brought into the works for inspection and repairs.
87 was outshopped in 'light aircraft' grey in January 2009, and was tested on the FR across the cob and around Harbour Station. During this time it took part in tests and training for the planned operation of WHR trains at Porthmadog. It also took part in the "Golden Bolts" ceremony to mark the connection of WHR rails to the FR. Following this it moved to Dinas over the newly complete line before entering WHR service in March.
In WHR Service
In January 2010 it returned to Boston Lodge for a repaint into its final livery of "Midnight Blue"
87 ran over 14,000 miles during 2010, being the mainstay of the WHR service. During its winter overhaul thieves broke into the shed at Dinas and stole various non-ferrous parts. This delayed 87's introduction back into service in 2011, and also that of no 143, as parts had to be re-made at Boston Lodge.
During winter 2012 87 was split from its power units and wheels were turned and tyres replaced after 4 years of service on the WHR. Since the reintroduction of 138 into service 87 has had its workload reduced slightly, but on blue timetable days the loco takes up Boston Lodge as its residence. There are also plans to wire the locomotive with electric lighting utilizing the recently fitted Stone's headlamps.