A LOCOMOTIVE on a York light railway that was saved from the scrapheap will have her first public run in her original livery tomorrow.

And the lovingly restored engine has been renamed Ken Cooke in honour of one of the city’s Normandy veterans.

The diesel shunter was once used on the former Rowntree factory site in York, where Mr Cooke worked as a blacksmith after returning from the Second World War. He sometimes hitched a ride on the locomotives to get around the factory site.

Last year he unveiled the locomotive’s nameplate at the Derwent Valley Light Railway (DVLR) at Murton and tomorrow the owners who saved the engine from the scrapheap will proudly take her on the tracks in her green livery.

The Ruston Hornsby 88DS, a preserved ex Rowntree & Co Ltd No3 shunter, is owned by Glynnis and Tony Frith, of York.

Mrs Frith said: “It will be amazing to take the engine on its first public run in the livery of 1960 she had as new when she left the Ruston Hornsby factory in Lincoln.

“The engine was used at Rowntree’s as a shunter and after it went out of service it was donated to the North York Moors Railway (NYMR) in 1987 and was later on loan to the National Railway Museum Shildon.

“I think we were having a midlife crisis back in 2013 when we bought the engine. It was on the disposal list to be scrapped by NYMR. By that time we were volunteering at DVLR and it seemed logical to save it. We discussed it one night as we were having a barbecue.”

Mrs Frith said the restoration was a lot of work, but she and her husband had help from other DVLR volunteers.

“She has been back running since 2014, we named it after Ken last year and now at last she is sporting her original look.”

Regarding the name choice Mrs Frith added: “On previous visits to the DVLR, Ken would always say to us to look after his engine.

“So naming the Rowntree’s shunter Ken Cooke was a fitting tribute to him as he was really taken by her.

“It was especially fitting as he received the Legion d’ Honneur in May last year.”

Mr Cooke, who is from the Hull Road area of York, was joined by fellow veterans, family, friends and six former Rowntree employees at the naming ceremony. The veterans were presented with honorary membership of the railway and enjoyed a train ride while Mr Cooke rode in the cab of his engine.

The locomotive and others will be pulling passengers from Murton Park Station tomorrow at the DVLR or the Blackberry Line, as it is affectionately known.

It’s a standard gauge railway which ran between Layerthorpe, York and Cliffe Common, Selby.

The first train leaves at 11am tomorrow and the last at 4.15pm. For more details and the timetable visit http://www.dvlr.org.uk.