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Few locomotives have managed to work on six railways in three continents, escaping the clutches of the scrap merchants at least six times in the process, yet such is the remarkable and unique history of No. 8233.
Constructed during the darkest days of World War Two by the North British Locomotive Company, Glasgow (Works No. 24607 of 1940), No. 8233 was one of a War Department order of locomotives destined for service in France. The Fall of France saw WD. No. 307 joining her sisters on the London Midland and Scottish Railway instead, spending nearly twelve months busily engaged with heavy wartime traffic from Toton, Holbeck and Westhouses depots.
By December 1941, LMS No. 8233 had been requisitioned by the WD. and sent to Persia. Here, as No. 41.109 of the Iranian State Railways she participated in the epic attempt to supply Russia 'by the back door'. Double headed, 700 ton trains battled up 1 in 65 gradients for miles on end, through many tunnels in temperatures of over 90 degrees Fahrenheit to bring thousands of tons of vital supplies to the hard pressed Russians. In 1944, No. 41.109 was converted to burn oil, and in 1946 she was transferred overland to the Suez Canal Zone.
WD. No. 70307 was loaned for two years to the Egyptian State Railways, but in 1948 she returned to the WD.'s Suez workshops, being in need of a new firebox. The engine was almost scrapped, but was eventually sent back home for overhaul at Derby Works in 1952. When repairs were complete in 1954, the engine was not needed in the Middle East and went instead to the Longmoor Military Railway as WD. No. 500.
In 1957, the engine's 'National Service' ended and she joined 665 sisters on British Railways as No.48773, operating from Polmadie depot, Glasgow. Here, her charmed existence continued, for she was subsequently withdrawn and reinstated twice before being preserved! Late in 1963, No. 48773 moved to Carlisle (Kingmoor), and after brief visits to Stockport (Edgeley) and Buxton, took up permanent residence at Bolton in September 1964. Finally allocated to Rose Grove in July 1968, she participated vociferously in the memorable grand finale of steam over the arduous Trans Pennine route via Copy Pit Summit.
In 1966, 48773 had received a 'Heavy Intermediate' repair and overhauled boiler at Crewe Works. By July 1968, she had covered a modest 36,000 miles and as such was selected as the '8F' in the best 'all round' condition, becoming the subject of a late and urgent appeal by this Society. After working the LCGB 'Farewell to Steam' special on 4th August she was purchased for preservation and delivered in working order to the then infant Severn Valley Railway.
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