The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway Preservation Society

Northern Rock


  • Built: 1976
  • Builder: Ravenglass workshops
  • Wheels: 2-6-2
  • Cylinders: 8½” x 6″
  • Driving wheels: 21¾”
  • Length: 23′ 11″
  • Width: 4′ 1″


Northern Rock was built at the workshops at Ravenglass. Comparative trials had taken place with 4-6-2 Northern Chief from the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway in 1971 which enabled the best features on 15-inch gauge locomotive design to be used. The boiler and enlarged cylinders were based on River Esk, the regulator and springing based on Northern Chief, the outside frames and sliding centre axle were drawn from River Irt.

Overall, a narrow gauge outline was provided which matches the saloon coaches and enabled robust motion parts to minimise maintenance whilst remaining in scale with the loco.

Construction began in 1973 to use a new boiler built earlier by Hunslet in Leeds. Other parts came as raw plates and castings for machining and assembly at Ravenglass. The unfinished loco was first steamed in March 1976. It was commissioned at the centenary celebrations of the railway later that year.

The design has proved itself in reliable service as one of the most powerful 15-inch gauge locos in the world. It is painted Muscat green with red, dark green and white lining after the style of the Highland Railway.

Two similar locomotives were built at Ravenglass for use in Japan. Northern Rock II was shipped in January 1990 and was followed by Cumbria in 1992.

News for this locomotive

  • Autumn galas

    River Mite will be visiting the Kirklees Light Railway over the weekend of 12/13 September to participate in their 10th annual steam and diesel gala. Doctor Syn is expected to be visiting

  • Locomotives: a summer summary

    The following update is reproduced from the R&ER Magazine number 218, September 2015. River Irt River Irt: has seen heavy use in traffic but lost a few days at the outset


Traffic reports about this locomotive

Articles about this locomotive

  • Locomotive mileages 2015

    Mileages to 31st December 2014 were as follows: Steam 2014 2013 + / – River Irt 6,534½ 0 +6,534½ River Esk 0 0 N/A River Mite 6,246½ 3,128 +3,118½ Northern

  • Engineering Report

    From Magazine 210, September 2013 On 28th March 2013, a fire ripped through the engineering workshop in Ravenglass, destroying the building. Tools and locomotive parts were in the building at


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