THE last remaining steam locomotive of its kind has returned to the North-East for five months to enable volunteers to carry out a muchneeded overhaul.

Members of the North East Locomotive Preservation Group (NELPG) will give up hundreds of hours to repair the K1 steam locomotive 62005, which is known as the Lord of the Isles to Scottish enthusiasts.

Yesterday, the locomotive, which was built in Glasgow in 1949, was lifted to allow volunteers to remove the wheels in preparation for the work, which includes repairs to the boiler and axle boxes.

The engine, which is owned by the NELPG, has been working on the Fort William to Mallaig line, in Scotland, which is seen in the Harry Potter films as the route the Hogwarts Express takes.

Locomotive 62005 also works on the North Yorkshire Moors line and has spent most of its working life in the North-East.

Volunteers in Darlington will spend months servicing and repairing the engine.

Work is expected to take until the end of March, with up to 50 volunteers spending up to four days a week preparing the engine to return to active service.

Fred Ramshaw, of the NELPG, said: “We have had this locomotive in our group for a lot of years. It is the only one of its class left in the world. It is in a good state of repair, but it needs some maintenance.

“Everything is going according to plan so far, but there is plenty of work to be done. We have got young people aged 16 and 17, right up to people aged in their 70s. Some used to work for Darlington Railway Works, some were drivers or firemen on the lines and some are just interested.

“It is important we have young people interested as, otherwise, these skills would die out. They are all volunteers and put in a lot of hours – it is a labour of love.”