Diesel Shunter no. 2896 ‘Frank’

Status: Ongoing restoration to working order
Location: Wansford: In restoration shed

Builder: F.Hibberd and Son Ltd in 1944

Engine: Perkins D3.152: 35BHP

Weight: 5 Tonnes

Original Owner: BOCM (Silcocks) Ltd, Selby, Yorkshire.

frank2012 originalfrank

This locomotive was purchased by Peterborough Railway Society in 1972, who subsequently sold it to Mr John Cooper who donated it to the 'Night Mail' museum project at Ferry Meadows in 2008.

The first restoration of this locomotive in 1976 was carried out by the apprentice school at Perkins Engines Ltd, Peterborough. The locomotive saw light duty at the Nene Valley Railway until suffering a broken buffer beam and subsequently being taken out of service.

Rail Mail International not only intend to build its museum at Ferry Meadows, but also involve the community in the project, especially educational establishments. With this in mind, some students from Oundle School have been enlisted over the past years to help with large amounts of the restoration on this vehicle.

Although the chassis and mechanical drive, along with the buffer beams and buffers are original, the bodywork is entirely new having been manufactured in 1976. However this had been extensively corroded and required a new cab to be manufactured. The new cab is be 12" longer at the front end to help balance the locomotive (overhang at the rear end tended to cause loss of traction to the front wheels).

The design of the bodywork is similar to the existing, but of single skin. The opportunity to design the new bodywork was taken up by another student as part of his diploma course.

The locomotive is not intended as a museum exhibit, but rather as a working engine for light shunting around the museum complex and also weed killing along the line following the fitting of a high pressure pump.

Work commenced on this project in september 2008 with the buffers being removed, stripped down, shot blasted and painted prior to re-assembly.

December 2013

Work has progressed steadily on Frank during 2013 whislt the engine is away.

This is included regular evening sessions on the loco so we are now at the stage where we can realistically not procede much further without the engine. This has included work on the transmission and the brakes, replacing the buffers and buffer beams and general painting and cleaning of the loco.

The engine itself is becoming something of a work of art. Originally taken on as a project for apprentices, many hours of work have now been spent on it with all parts meticulously overhaulled or replaced as required. It has been placed on a test bed twice in November, but is now recieving additional work on the injectors. Once the engine returns, a return to traffic should be relatively straight forward. At Ferry Meadows it will certainly be useful to have two locos (Frank and the newly aquired German Kof loco available for shunting)


frank nov13 01 frank nov13 02 Frank engine nov13 1 Frank engine nov13


January 2013

The engine for Frank has been sent away and is now under overhaul at Perkins Engines. Once this is back, work will be able to commence on the rest of the rebuilding of the locomotive. We have also been removing a number of other pieces for refurbishment.

Summer 2012

Work has recently restarted on Frank. 

The bonnet has been refurbished and temporarily placed back on the loco.

The engine has seized solid, and a lot of hours have been spent trying to free it. However despite our best attempts to free it, we have had no luck. We have struck a deal with Perkins Engines, who rebuilt the loco in the 70's for their apprentices to overhaul the engine free of charge.

The cab has also had a fresh coat of primer added.

November 2011

Unfortunatly we have decided to put 'Frank' on hold for the time being, due to the heavy workload from our other projects. However, it does remain in the care of the IRPS and we will recommence work as soon as possible.

'Frank' would be an ideal project for some younger members of the IRPS, but until we have enough interest and the correct superviosn in place, we belive it would be best left alone.

If you would like to take on the challenge of restoring 'Frank' please get in touch with us.

July 2010

In order to make the removal of the engine easier, we have constructed a 'cradle' so that the engine can be hoisted out with as little effort and danger as possible.

frankenginecradle1 frankengine

The job for this month is repairing the huge hole in the cabin floor, where we removed corroded metal last year.

frankfloor1 frankfloor2

The first few weeks of July were spent removing any unnecessary parts, as well as parts for restoration. The fuel tank was the most significant removal so far.