Excitement is starting to build, as guest locomotive no. 2253 has arrived at the Churnet Valley Railway ahead of its debut appearance on the line for Super Power Saturday – the first time to witness three operating USATC S160s in the UK since 1944.
2253 was built by Baldwin locomotives as per sister locomotive 6046. She was brought to the UK, arriving in Hull in May 1943, where she was loaned to the LNER and operated out of Neville Hill depot in Leeds. Following D-Day she was returned to the USATC Stock and went to France where she assisted with the allied advancement that ended World War 2. After the War she was sold to the Polish State Railway and became TR2003-288, and entered service on the Polish network.
In 1992 she was purchased for the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, where she entered service and performed for a full 10 years until withdrawal for a boiler overhaul in 2002. Unpopular with crews, the locomotive was sold to Peter Best in 2013, and was cosmetically restored for a World War 2 display at the Locomotion Museum in Shildon.
After the end of this display she was moved to Northern Steam Engineering where Peter Best’s team began restoring her. Completed in early 2019 she was moved to NYMR for running-in purposes, where she was unveiled in a new plum livery loosely based on Canadian Pacific colours, and named “Omaha” in memory of D-Day veterans who landed on Omaha Beach – including Peter Best’s father.
Super Power Saturday is being run as the first public appeal to raise funds for the “Reconnect Leek” project, that will see the CVR return trains to Leek for the first time since 1970!