Meet the £650,000replica Lyn at Woody Bay Station this Saturday and Sunday (September 30/October 1)

A brand-new steam engine named Lyn will be launched into service at the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway Autumn Gala at Woody Bay Station this Saturday and Sunday.

The £650,000 engine will be in action on both days from 10am-5pm at the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway on the A39.

It is a replica of the locomotive built especially for the narrow-gauge line when it opened in 1898, which was created by Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia and brought a touch of the American West to North Devon.

When the line closed in 1935 the original Lyn was unceremoniously cut up for scrap after 37 years of faithful service.

The new model has been built for the heritage railway by the 762 Club, a charity set up for the purpose and funded entirely by membership and sponsorship donations.

It is one of the first new steam engines in Britain since Tornado was built for the main line in 2008.

Beneath the Victorian exterior, the new engine is much more powerful and economical to run than the original. This has been achieved by the incorporation of such more modern features as roller bearings to reduce friction and maintenance, superheating the boiler which cuts down condensation losses, and the use of a gas producer combustion system that greatly reduces the loss of unburnt fuel up the chimney.

Most of the components of the new Lyn were made in the West Country and then assembled into the completed locomotive by Alan Keef Ltd near Ross-on-Wye.

The boiler – the largest single part of any steam engine – was built by Bennett Boilers of Highbridge in Somerset.

Many other components were supplied free or at greatly reduced rates by a number of Devon firms including Babcock International of Appledore, Whitelands Engineering of Bideford and Luffman Engineering near Tiverton.

For two years Babcock apprentices learnt their craft making parts for Lyn before going on to build aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy.

Meet the Lyn this weekend – free park-and-ride is available at Caffyns, a mile further along the A39 towards Lynton.The engine will still need maintaining, however, and membership of the 762 Club is still available at www.762club.com.