Darjeeling’s beloved steam locomotive 19B undergoes overhaul at Statfold Barn Railway

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The iconic Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) late Adrian Shooter’s 1889-built Darjeeling No. 19 fondly known as “Alfred”, has begun its much-anticipated overhaul at the Statfold Barn Railway in the UK. The engineering team carefully dismantled the locomotive on January 8th and 9th, marking the start of a meticulous restoration process.

19B was one of the DHR’s most celebrated steam engines, known for its graceful presence and crucial role in hauling passengers along the picturesque mountain railway. The current overhaul marks a significant milestone in preserving 19B’s legacy.

The restoration process promises to be a meticulous and extensive one. The boiler tubes, the heart of the locomotive, have already been removed, revealing a surprising fact: aside from the front tube-plate, tubes, some stays, washout bosses, and a few patches in the firebox, most of the boiler components are original! This speaks volumes about the quality of construction and the dedication of past engineers who maintained 19B over the years.

The new owners, the Darjeeling Tank Locomotive Trust, are optimistic that at the moment they wouldn’t need a new boiler since the boiler could last for another decade. The boiler is quite old, at 135 years, but when checked, it was discovered that only regular fixes were necessary.


The Darjeeling Tank Locomotive Trust was formed by the 19B’s Support Crew, who’ve been looking after and running the locomotive for 20 years. Their goal is to own and run the engine, while also continuing their mission of involving young people in heritage steam activities.

The trustees come from various groups like the DHR Society, the Ff&WHR, the 19B Support Crew, and others who want to keep the locomotive running and accessible to the public. Currently, 19B is housed at Statfold Barn, which has the advantage of having a railway to operate her, a museum to exhibit her, and a skilled workshop to maintain her.

The Statfold Barn Railway, renowned for its expertise in steam locomotive restoration, will meticulously examine and repair each component of 19B. This comprehensive process ensures the locomotive adheres to the highest safety standards while retaining its historical character.

As of early February 2024, there aren’t any big repairs scheduled for the overhaul. They’ll do the usual cleaning and testing to check for any cracks. The Darjeeling Tank Locomotive Trust (DTLT) has a Supporters Day planned for early April which will be attended by supporters only.

The overhaul will involve a complete inspection and refurbishment of all major components, including the boiler, cylinders, wheels, and frame. New parts will be fabricated and installed where necessary, while original components will be meticulously restored to their former glory.

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