49 was built as number 5062, later 75062, by Robert Stephenson & Hawthorns at their Newcastle works. Although her works plates say she was built at Newcastle and Darlington Works, she was actually built at Newcastle, using some parts built at Darlington Works. She was one of 90 built at RSH Newcastle and was ex-works on 18th August 1943, with their works number 7098.
Where she went for her first few months is shrouded in the fog of war. In November 1943 she was put into store on the Melbourne Military R Railway (MMR) in Derbyshire and moved to further storage with the War Department at Shoeburyness in Essex in January 1944, returning to the MMR in September 1944.
In May 1946 she went on loan to the Ministry of Fuel and Power at their Swannington opencast disposal point, near Coalville in Leicestershire. Following repairs at the LMS Railway workshops in Derby, she moved to the MoF&P Bennerley disposal point in Nottinghamshire in February 1947.She was not there long as in April 1947 she moved up to this region , being transferred to the MoF&P Blue Bell disposal point at Backworth in Northumberland. There was a loco shed here, but she was repaired and maintained at the NCB Backworth loco sheds, carrying the number 75062 and painted in lined black livery. In April 1952 her ownership changed to the NCB Opencast Executive.
In December 1959 the NCB bought her and she moved permanently to Backworth sheds, where her number later changed to 49 and her livery to lined green. She was repainted into this livery by Jimmy Scott, who also applied it to fellow Austerities 3, Hudswell Clarke 1774 of 1944, 33, Robert Stephenson & Hawthorns 7177 of 1944 and 48, Hunslet Engine 2864 of 1943. Normally, Backworth locos were painted in the NCB Northumberland Area unlined dark blue livery, with the area crest, after 1964. As she worked over British Railways lines, she had to be registered by the Railway Inspectorate and later by the British Transport Commission and regularly inspected. She carried their registration plates 1701, 1723, 1762 and 1782 of 1953 at various times and at present carries 1701. She also acquired NCB plant number 9103/49, which is painted on her frames. 49 was used on the run down to Whitehill Point Staiths on the River Tyne, which closed in 1969 and to Burradon and Weetslade, as well as being the regular Fenwick Pit pilot for many years.
The Burradon system had her on loan from July to November 1973 and April to July 1974, but she was not looked after and returned without having her boiler ever washed out. She returned to Burradon shed in January 1976 for storage.
In March 1976, No.49 was bought through the Stephenson and Hawthorn Locomotive Trust and moved back to Backworth for further storage in February 1977. In June 1980 she was moved to Marley Hill.
Following a comprehensive overhaul and her subsequent return to traffic, 49 remained a mainstay on the railway for a number of years, and often took on the role of ambassador for the railway at off-site events, being loaned to the Weardale Railway in 2004 (where she helped inaugurate their passenger service) and also to the NRM in 2008 for their widely acclaimed "1968 and All That" event, where she was both on display and pulling passenger trains on their demonstration line. 49 was withdrawn from service for a 10-Yearly overhaul in September 2011, making her last appearance in steam during the Legends of Industry Gala, including a fitting send off in the form of a coal train run from East Tanfield to Andrews House. 49 is currently under overhaul in Marley Hill Shed.
Photo: 49 outside Marley Hill Shed in September 2011, during the yearly photographic evening prior to the Legends of Industry Steam Gala.
UPDATE 30/12/16: Boiler removed from frames and preparatory work for boiler repairs underway.
25 February 2018