The Railway Children’s station, Oakworth, on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway, is the scene in this photograph of N2 Class 0-6-2T No.1744 / 4744 aka BR No.69523. The Kings Cross destination board is entirely appropriate, as the principal duties for these engines were suburban services in and out of Kings Cross. The large pipes coming from either side of the smokebox are part of the condensing apparatus, fitted to these engines. The fitting of the condensing equipment made it possible for them to work into the tunnels on the Metropolitan Railway, as the exhaust steam could be fed back into the top of the tanks, instead of filling the tunnels and stations.
Over a hundred of these engines were constructed, No.1744, herself, was constructed in 1921 shortly before the Grouping which saw the Great Northern Railway become a constituent of the London North Eastern Railway, in 1923. No.1744 was rescued by the Gresley Society, in 1963, and arrived on the fledgling K&WVR in 1965. No.1744 is no longer a resident at the K&WVR – on this occasion she was making a guest appearance, to commemorate that she was one of the ‘pioneer’ engines on the line. Today, No. 1744 can usually be found at work on the Great Central Railway, between Loughborough Central and Leicester North.
Today’s Christmas connection is that like the ‘Polar Express’, and ‘Bridge on the River Kwai’, the ‘family classic’ ‘The Railway Children’ usually makes a guest appearance in the Christmas TV listings. I’ll get my coat – and paint white lines around my coal stack now – ho, ho, ho!