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.

February 2010

Work re-commenced after the Christmas period with the laborious task of re-assembling and fitting the buffers.

frankbuffers3 frankbuffers2

November 2009

Shortly before Christmas, a coat of grey undercoat was applied to 2896 to protect the new cab from rust over the winter.


June 2009

Frank's nameplates will be undergoing restoration during the winter period ready to be fitted last of all.


With the cab almost complete, all that remains to be done this year is add more layers of paint to help protect 2896 until work re-commences.


After welding all the panels into place, preparation for painting began. All the welds had to be ground down until they were flush with the panels and the entire cab had to be sanded down and washed in thinners before the gutter strips could be fitted.


April 2009

Below is a photo of the nearly complete Driver's Cab. We made the new cab 1ft taller to allow for more headroom:


February 2009

After welding the frame together and clamping it to the base of 2896, the side panels were measured, cut to size and clamped in place ready for welding.


Here are some photos of the drivers cab door frames being constructed:

frankwelding frankdoorframe

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  1. December 2008
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