The Joffre Arrives

The Moseley Railway Trust is delighted to announce the arrival of Kerr Stuart steam locomotive no.3014 of 1916 at the Apedale Valley Light Railway, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire. This locomotive is known as a Joffre type; it arrived at Apedale on the morning of 13 August 2011.

The locomotive was built locally – the Kerr Stuart works were just a few miles away in Stoke-on-Trent. This loco was ordered by the French Commission for their artillery railways, and was delivered new to Nantes, France. 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 Societe Anonyme des Carrieres de la Valee Heureuse et du Haut Banc, Marquise Rinxent in the Pas de Calais area of northern France. This was a stone quarry, and had at least four other similar locos. By August 1956, the locos on this site were derelict. It was repatriated to the UK onboard the ferry Free Enterprise VII on 11/10/74.

It was moved to the abortive museum project at Pen-yr-Orsedd quarry, North Wales, and then on to the Gloddfa Ganol slate quarry museum complex, near Blaneau Ffestiniog. Here, it was mounted on a plinth by the museum operator’s house, and became a familar site to passing motorists as they struggled up the lengendary Crimea Pass road out of Blaneau to the north. Following closure of the Gloddfa Ganol museum, the loco joined the MRT collection in 1998. It has been subjected to a long and thorough restoration over the last thirteen years.

The locomotive is owned by a small consortium of MRT members. Although a number of finishing-off jobs are still to be completed, the locomotive has been test-steamed and has moved under its own power.

The Joffre joins Stanhope (Kerr Stuart 2395) on site; together, these locally-built locomotives will form the centrepiece of the Made in Staffordshire gala to be held at Apedale on September 10 & 11. Further details are available here.

Phil Robinson, MRT Chairman, said “We are delighted to welcome a second Kerr Stuart locomotive to Apedale. We hope that many people will come to our event at Apedale in September to see the locomotive in steam in the UK for the first time in more than ninety years”