Joffre Announcement

The owners of Kerr Stuart steam locomotive no.3014 are delighted to announce that the restoration of this locomotive has now entered its final phase. The locomotive will soon be moving to the Moseley Railway Trust site at Apedale, where it will be used to haul trains on the 2’0” gauge Apedale Valley Light Railway.

It is entirely appropriate that the locomotive is based at Apedale, which is just a few miles from the Kerr Stuart works where the locomotive was constructed in 1916. No.3014 was ordered by the French Commission for their artillery railways, and was delivered new to Nantes, France during WW1. Kerr Stuart built 70 locos of this type, known as the “Joffre” – named after the famous French General. After the war, it was sold from Verdun to a dealer, Brunner & Marchand of Borray, Seine & Oise. In October 1930, it was sold on to a stone quarry – Societe Anonyme des Carrieres de la Valee Heureuse et du Haut Banc, Marquise Rinxent in the Pas de Calais area of northern France. By August 1956, the locos on this site were derelict. In 1974, 3014 and four similar “Joffres” were repatriated to the UK onboard the ferry “Free Enterprise VII” on 11/10/74.

3014 and three of the other locos eventually resided at the Gloddfa Ganol slate quarry museum complex, near Blaenau Ffestiniog. Here, it was mounted on a plinth alongside the museum operator’s house. It became a familar site to passing motorists as they struggled up the lengendary Crimea Pass road out of Blaenau to the north. Following closure of the Gloddfa Ganol museum, the loco was acquired by the 3014 Society. The locomotive has been restored at a number of sites, and was recently test-steamed for the first time in fifty years.

The key remaining activity on the locomotive is to complete the work on the side tanks, followed by detail finishing and testing. It is expected that the locomotive will be completed and moved to Apedale during Spring 2011.

Gareth Roberts of the 3014 Society said “This locomotive has been restored from a scrapyard condition, and it will be marvellous to bring it home to Staffordshire. The Moseley Railway Trust has a growing collection of vehicles from the First World War military railways, so 3014 will complement and add to this collection considerably”.

It is planned to hold a “launch day” for 3014 at Apedale; the date for this will be announced in due course. The Moseley Railway Trust is hoping to determine if there are any surviving Kerr Stuart employees – the company closed in 1930, so it’s JUST possible! Any leads in this regard would be appreciated.

The photographs are a Joffre works photo, 3014 approaching completion and when it was displayed at Gloddfa Ganol. Get in touch with the MRT here.