Industrial steam locomotive rediscovered in convent shed

Steam engine Image copyright NVR
Image caption Newstead will make the journey up the A1 to be put on public display in Peterborough

An industrial steam engine last used to haul coal in the 1970s has been "rediscovered" at a convent in the east of England.

It was thought the 1929 locomotive, called "Newstead", had been scrapped.

However, it had been saved by an enthusiast who had it restored and then built a small track and shed at a convent near his home, where it remained for almost 30 years.

It will be displayed at the Nene Valley Railway in Peterborough this weekend.

Newstead - a Hunslet 16-inch saddle tank design - was used to transport coal at Woolley Colliery, on the border of South and West Yorkshire, before being purchased by vintage vehicle collector Malcolm Saul in the late 70s.

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Image copyright NVR
Image caption Owner Malcolm Saul built a shed around the engine to help preserve it
Image copyright NVR
Image caption Members of the Small Loco Group at Nene Valley Railway checked and cleaned Newstead in preparation for its trip north

His widow Jane, said: "Malcolm said to me one day, 'I'm going to have an engine', and I said, 'Oh don't be silly'. Then it arrived."

'Biggest preservation story'

It was stored in a specially built shed on land Mr Saul rented from a convent next door.

The engine was sent to Suffolk for a two-year refurbishment in the 1990s and then returned to its shed, where it remained.

Image copyright NVR
Image caption Members of the Small Loco Group are keen to know how the engine originally looked when it was in service

"Malcolm loved it, and used to tinker with it all the time. He always said one day he'd build a longer track and we'd see it in steam again," Mrs Saul said.

When her husband died she contacted the Small Loco Group at the Nene Valley Railway, who went to see Newstead and described it as "one of the biggest preservation stories of the 21st Century so far".

Image copyright NVR
Image caption Volunteers would also like to hear from anyone who used to drive Newstead at the colliery

The engine will be transported the 90 minutes up the A1 on a flatbed truck later, before being put on show at the Peterborough museum as part of its celebration of industrial steam locomotives.

"Newstead's owner died before he got the chance to play with her properly," Alex Alder from the Small Loco Group said.

"We will restore it and put it in steam again. We want to finish what he started."

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