27 April 2023
Trust urgently seeks support for its bid to purchase locomotive and "keep it in the public benefit".
The Darjeeling Tank Locomotive Trust is urgently seeking to raise £180,000 to keep a world-famous locomotive operational, and in the UK. The only operational blue Darjeeling Himalayan Railway ‘B’ Class 2ft gauge tank to have left India will be sold in June, 2023. The Trust is seeking support for its bid to purchase the locomotive and fulfil its aims of keeping it in the public benefit.
The Trust commented, "We have set up a non-profit company and have registered to become a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Loans We urgently need loans to enable us to buy the locomotive from Adrian Shooter's estate – ideally amounts of £10,000 which we intend to repay over five years (they would be non-interest bearing). Covenants standing orders of £25 per month for five years would enable us to repay the loans and maintain and operate the engine. We won't action any standing orders until we have bought the loco."
Donations are being taken directly, with Gift Aid (to be claimed as soon as the Trust has been granted charitable status), or via CrowdFunder online. The Trust added, "Of course, if we can't purchase the engine we will repay the loans and donations immediately."
Built by Sharp Stewart in Glasgow in 1889, 19B is from the original batch of four of these locomotives and survives in operating condition today, thanks to its owner, the late Adrian Shooter who rescued it from America and had it overhauled into operating condition at Tyseley, Birmingham, in 2003. Although the locomotive is now approaching its ten-year boiler overhaul, it is operational and still has its original Lowmoor Iron boiler – the oldest working locomotive boiler in the world.
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway ‘B’ Class 2ft gauge tank, 19B – a painting by railway artist, Jonathan Clay.
About The Darjeeling Tank Locomotive Trust
Set up by 19B’s Support Crew (who have cared for and operated the locomotive for 20 years) the Trust's aim is to acquire and operate the locomotive, and to continue its work of developing young people through a common interest in heritage steam.
The trustees are drawn from interested parties associated with organisations such as the DHR Society, the Ff&WHR, the 19B Support Crew and others, who wish to see the locomotive remain operational and in the public view. It is hoped that 19B will be based at Statfold Barn, where it can be run and displayed, alongside a respected and highly-skilled workshop.
The Support Crew wishes to follow Adrian Shooter’s established tradition of touring with the locomotive, visiting and operating on 2ft gauge railways elsewhere, in order to share it with the public as much as possible.
For further details on the project to raise funds for 19B, visit the Darjeeling Tank Locomotive Trust's website.