Joffres

One of the lesser-known members of the Moseley Railway Trust fleet is No.5 in the steam fleet, Kerr Stuart 3014/16. This locomotive was one of the “Joffre” class, named after the famous French general of the First World War. The loco is an 060 well plus side tank, with two 8 1/2″ x 11″ cylinders. Kerr Stuart supplied seventy of these locos in three batches; the design was closely based on similar locos being built by the French builder Decauville. The similarity is understandable when one learns that the French government provided KS with all the drawings for the locos. No. 3014 was supplied new to Nantes in 1916, for use on French government artillery railways. It was purchased, from Verdun, by a dealer, and resold to a stone quarry SA des Carrieres de la Vallee Heureuse, along with at least four similar locos. Derelict by 1956, it was repatriated in 1974, along with four other Joffres, and became part of the now-defunct Gloddfa Ganol collection. It spend many of the following years on a plinth alongside the famous Crimea Pass road out of Blaneau Ffestiniog (see top photo). In 1998, the loco became part of the MRT fleet. As will be appreciated, 40plus years of dereliction has taken a severe toll, and it will be a long haul back to service for this loco. However, great strides are being made. 3014 is not yet at Apedale; its restoration is progressing off-site. It will be a great day when it returns to a site no more than five miles from where it was built and hauls a passenger train. We have been inspired recently by the return to steam of one of the other ex-Gloddfa Joffres, this one number 2451 at the Lynton & Barnstaple group’s base at Woody Bay. Our friends at the West Lancashire Light railway own a Joffre (no. 2405) which was part of the 1974 import batch but escaped incarnation at Gloddfa. There is a website here which gives lots more Joffre-related information. We have been lent some slides, taken in 1963 by Mr D. Trevor Rowe showing two of the Joffres at the stone quarry – one of the shots is shown below.
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