Copyright © 2015-16 Stan Bell. All rights reserved.

NVR 40t Steam Crane


The NVR crane is a ‘breakdown’ crane, its main purpose being the recovery of railway vehicles following an accident. Usually it would be hauled to the accident site as part of a breakdown train, in which the crew would travel.  Once on-site, it would be used to return derailed vehicles to the track, or lift severely damaged items onto a suitable rescue vehicle.

It was operational with the LMS from 1931 to 1947 and then with British Rail until 1982 when it was sold for scrap to Wath Skip Hire in Bolton-on-Dearne. Almost immediately, the Nene Valley Railway bought the crane and it has been a fundamental part of the railways operation ever since.  

The crane at rest in the yard at Wansford. Freshly cleaned and gleaming in the evening sunlight.

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This website is dedicated to the ex-LMS 40-ton Steam Crane resident at the Nene Valley Railway.

Nene Valley Railway

Wansford Station




T: 01780 784444

In BR days, at Leeds Holbeck, the crane was unofficially christened “Gladys”. This was name of driver Arthur Butler’s wife and supervisor Barry Redfearn’s mother.

At Nene Valley, it’s simply called “The Crane”, or “The Steam Crane”.

The crane is looked after by a small group, led by an NVR staff member. Currently we have two qualified banksmen/drivers, another driver, and a trainee.  The group maintain the fabric of the crane, ensure that regular maintenance is done to schedule and act as operators and ancillary staff when the crane is in use.

In addition, the crane is often in operation during the NVR Gala days (both Steam and Diesel!).  On these occasions the team demonstrate the precision with which they can lift and place an assortment of railway vehicles.