The Dean Forest Railway Society has announced that it has purchased 50% ownership in Austerity steam locomotive, Wilbert. The purchase comes thanks to an agreement with the Forest of Dean Railway Limited. Responsibility for the fundraising and overhaul of the locomotive has now been transferred over to the Dean Forest Railway Society.
Wilbert was withdrawn from service in early 2016. (Dean Forest Railway)
In the future, a dedicated fund will be set up for the locomotive’s overhaul, but first, a full assessment will be completed to find out what work is needed, and what the work will cost.
Wilbert was built in 1953 and is one of 485 Austerity locomotives built by Hunslet between 1943 and 1964. The locomotive worked for the National Coal Board but came to the Dean Forest Railway in 1976 where it was placed on a short length of track at Parkend.
The locomotive was named after Rev W Awdry in 1987 after the DFR president at the time.
This news comes after the success of the Emergency Fund in 2020, which has raised over £75,000 to help support the Dean Forest Railway through the coronavirus pandemic.
If you would like to help the Dean Forest Railway, please visit the Emergency Fund page on their website.