North Devon’s biggest heritage railway has made a massive investment with a completely new build steam locomotive to replace the one lost in 1935

A £600,000-plus investment will see a brand new steam locomotive arrive at a North Devon heritage railway this September.

The Lynton and Barnstaple Railway at Woody Bay will welcome back a new built copy of its famous LYN locomotive at its Autumn Gala at the station on Saturday, September 30.

The engine has been built at the works of engineering contractor Alan Keef in Herefordshire and has been made possible thanks to funding from independent charity The 762 Club.

The famous narrow gauge railway which ran from Lynton to Barnstaple for less than 40 years has £16million ambitions to reopen swathes of track and put North Devon back on the map as a rail destination.

The Lynton and Barnstaple Railway is bidding to be restored to its former glory as a massive boost to the North Devon economy. Picture: Tony NicholsonThe Lynton and Barnstaple Railway is bidding to be restored to its former glory as a massive boost to the North Devon economy. Picture: Tony Nicholson

It ran from 1898 to 1935 but since 1979 a dedicated band of volunteers has been working tirelessly to reinstate the railway.

The LYN will be a big part of those plans and marketing director Keith Vingoe of the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway Trust said the new-build loco is the fastest ever to be built in heritage railway history, at just over eight years.

He said: "Although it looks like the locomotive scrapped in 1935, what's going on underneath is a very different things altogether.

"Effectively it's the greenest steam locomotive to be built in the UK and it's more than £600,000 investment in North Devon and Exmoor tourism.

"The LYN will have a permanent home at the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway, though it may also visit other railways as there is a great deal of interest in this engine."

The original LYN was a Baldwin 2-4-2 and was commonly referred to by railway staff as 'The Yankee'.

Despite a few teething problems, LYN was a popular and distinctive engine that was also the most powerful on the line - on occasion pulling five-coach trains, one more than normally allowed.

Closure of the line came in September in 1935, and after the November auction when LYN was sold for £50 it was quickly reduced to pile of scrap with only the nameplates, head-lamp and gauge glass surviving.

The modern railway already has a mile of track from Woody Bay Station, but £16.5m extension plans are in the works to add another four-and-a-half miles to take it to Blackmoor Gate and Wistlandpound.

Final planning permission could be granted as early as September.

* Video from YouTube courtesy of traindriver35