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.

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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 2008

Corroded metal had to be cut away from various points of 2896 to make way for the new bodywork.


The Driver's cab was also removed because the framework was in poor condition.


Large amounts of bodywork needed replacing, so to begin with, the framework covering the engine was removed ready for restoration.


October 2008

The buffers of 2896 were removed, cleaned up, and painted ready for re-assembly.