After a very heavy overhaul taking over 20 years, O&K 7529 is now fully restored to operational condition and is expected to be hauling passenger trains at the Golden Valley Light Railway this Summer.
Updated history, with thanks to messrs John Butler, Simon Lomax and Éric Fresné
This 0-4-0 well tank loco was built by Orenstein and Koppel of Germany, and completed in the early part of 1914 before the generalised sudden extreme deterioration of international relations.
It was sold to "Bellefille, Frankreich" according to the order book, meaning the railway constructed by M Bellefille Leveu, a sand quarry owner who constructed a line from Saint Pierre lès Nemours (where there is a canal and main line railway) to Ormesson (the location of the quarries).
He purchased 2 or 3 O&Ks. Later in 1914, this company became, with other little quarries, "Sables (sand) et grès (sandstone) de Nemours". In 1936, Sables & grès joined CISN. Since Saint Pierre lès Nemours is about 15 kms south of Fontainbleau, itself South of Paris, it was well behind the front line between 1914 and 18. The loco always carried the railway's number 2.
After about 60 years of work at the same location it was brought to England, being unloaded from its railway ferry wagon on 25th November 1967 and stored initially (somewhat ironically) at its first UK owner's home at the other Ripley in Surrey.
Following a number of ownership changes in the UK, it was purchased by a working member at the Cadeby Light Railway in Leicestershire, where it lay until being purchased by Eddie Draper, one of our working members. It arrived on site at Butterley Park on 28th January 1995.
The loco has one unusual feature, a steam-operated bell. This feature would normally be fitted to locos as a requirement for operating on a roadside line.
The loco was consigned to a siding at the GVLR whilst other work, such as the opening of the railway extension in 1999 and other rolling stock took priority. In September 2001 the owner got married, and members of the GVLR shunted O&K 7529 into the Loco Shed so that the happy couple could begin married life restoring it. Since then, a new cab, ashpan and smokebox have been fabricated, and the air brake system largely installed. A Tallyllyn Railway air compressor has been fitted.
After a hiatus, work has recommenced with the boiler being lifted from the chassis which is now inverted and minus wheelsets. The axles have been found to be bent and new ones are currently being manufactured in house for fitting, including quartering, off site. The majority of the valve gear has been refurbished, and a list of boiler repairs drawn up.
Update March 2019: The boiler repairs were contracted out in 2018, and are well under way. Meanwhile, the rest of the loco is a rolling chassis aproaching completion, with a virtually new cab painted in primer, flatted and stored as a flat pack. The original side buffers and centre hook coupling system have been replaced by the GVLR's standard ex colliery Allen type on fully sprung drawbars. Mechanical lubricators for both steam and axle bearing oil have been fitted, along with improved wick feed oilers at many other locations.
The Air Compressor has also been trial fitted on the right hand of the chassis in front of the right hand side cylinder. Powered by the shed air compressor, as steam is not yet available, the compressor produced air and pressurised the air system of the loco.