Dame Vera Lynn: North Yorkshire Moors Railway to convert steam locomotive to run on oil to 'save future of heritage lines'

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway will convert a steam locomotive to run on oil rather than coal for the first time in the UK in order to protect the future of heritage lines.

The heritage rail sector has struggled to source coal in recent years due to the closure of the last British mine, the war in Ukraine cutting off imports from Russia, and concerns about sustainability and environmental impact.

Prices for coal supplies from overseas have more than doubled on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway in recent years and there have been issues with new varieties from South America causing more lineside fires in the North York Moors National Park during hot weather.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The conversion of Dame Vera Lynn is the first such work undertaken since the end of steam on the mainline network in the 1960s.

Dame Vera LynnDame Vera Lynn
Dame Vera Lynn

The NYMR has partnered with a US-based railroad mechanical contractor for the project.

The locomotive was built in the 1940s for freight haulage and was used on railways in Egypt during World War Two.

NYMR engineering director Paul Middleton said: “This is a great opportunity to develop oil burning systems on our locomotives. This will help ensure our steam locomotives remain in service for future generations. Oil has many benefits, including lowering the risks of lineside fires, reducing staff hours maintaining locomotives and reducing business risk due to the unavailability of coal.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Components for the overhaul will be manufactured in workshops in both Tennessee and Grosmont, with the final installation taking place on the NYMR.

Dame Vera Lynn was purchased for preservation in the 1980s by enthusiast Clifford Brown, who entrusted the locomotive’s care to the NYMR. Named after the wartime singer who entertained troops, the engine was one of a batch of 150 commissioned for the war effort and heavy freight workings.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.