N7 69621 Restoration

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The N7 Restoration Appeal

Help us to raise £100,000 to return our Flagship Locomotive to Steam.

Our plan is to return the locomotive to steam to run primarily on the Museum’s demonstration line and to also be available for Galas or short visits to other heritage railways in the UK.

The Restoration project is run by Volunteers at the East Anglian Railway Museum and funded by donations, if you can help in any way either by Volunteering or making a donation this would be appreciated. Please see the N7 Restoration Appeal donation details below or the volunteering page h

Brief History

The N7 was ordered as No 999 by the Great Eastern Railway at their Stratford Locomotive Works, entering traffic on 19th March 1924 – coincidentally being the very last locomotive ever built at Stratford under their regime.

Although construction had begun, the Railway Groupings Act of 1921 saw the locomotive emerge to the new London & North Eastern Railway as No 999E, being renumbered 7999 on the 31st March 1926. It was built primarily for the heavy suburban trains out of London Liverpool Street to Chingford and Enfield known as the ‘The Jazz Service’. There was further renumbering on 2nd January 1947 to 9621 and reclassification to N7/4, after being given a new Gresley round-top firebox between June & July 1947. She passed into British Railways ownership after nationalisation of the railways in 1948 again being renumbered to 69621 on the 8th January 1949.

She was withdrawn on the 11th September 1962 after 38 long years of service and purchased for preservation by the late Dr Fred Youell. She arrived at Chappel by rail on the 9th September 1973.

Restoration of the N7 didn’t start until 1981 when an extensive overhaul began. Finally, in 1989, after winning the British Coal Steam Heritage Award, she made a triumphant return to steam and featured in the Southend centenary celebrations of August 1989, also making appearances at Colchester, Cambridge and Stratford, before a debut on the London Underground’s ‘Steam on the Met’ in 1992. She also featured extensively at both the EARM and other heritage railways around the country.

At the conclusion of her boiler certificate in 1999, an agreement was then reached between ourselves and the North Norfolk Railway allowing them to undertake the overhaul on the locomotive which was completed in 2005. The N7 spent the majority of the next five years operating at the NNR before returning to Chappel for our 40th anniversary in 2011. She then went to the Churnet Valley Railway until expiry of her boiler certificate in 2015. She then arrived home in the September of that year to await her third overhaul in preservation!

Our N7 is the last of 134 that were built and is also the largest and most relevant piece of the Museum’s Locomotive collection

Sparks are shown flying, as one of our members is working with  a gas cutting torch ,he  is cutting away tubes from inside  the boiler. Our restorers have to go inside small enclosed spaces to do many jobs. Tubes are in the course of events  a consumable item, so every seven years or sothey need replacing. The following picture is of an empty boiler barrel – like a long dark tube , you could say was the barebones of the locomotive’s boiler .


One of the younger volunteers is shown here pointing out  some  intricate work on the outer firebox in August 2019. A new section was welded in the outer firebox, reducing the overall cost of the restoration significantly. By autumn 2016 a better appreciation was made on the amount of work required. It is a fact of restoration you never know exactly what you’re dealing with until it has been dismantled. This is something that other restorers, for example those who work vintage cars, aircraft and boats know about too.



The boiler has now departed the Museum to go to the Heritage Boiler Steam Services in Liverpool for the commencement of its overhaul.


The restoration of a locomotive of her age does not come cheap or without its challenges so we need your help to fundraise a further £100,000 to complete the restoration.


Click the button to be taken to the special donation page on PayPal.  You will have the option of donating any amount.

You can still donate to us with a cheque. They need to be made payable to ‘East Anglian Railway Museum’ (not ‘EARM’) with reference “N7 Restoration Appeal” on the back. Please send cheques to N7 Restoration Appeal, East Anglian Railway Museum, Chappel & Wakes Colne Station, Station Road, Wakes Colne, Essex, CO6 2DS. If you would like a receipt, please include a SAE.

Larger donations can be made via bank transfer. Please email reception@earm.co.uk or click on Contact Us for further details.N7


If you are a UK Tax Payer, it is possible for you to GiftAid your donation – if dontating online please choose the GiftAid option – if donating via Cheque, please fill in and return a GiftAid form with your donation.