The North Norfolk Railway’s flagship loco, No. 92203 ‘Black Prince’, is being temporarily withdrawn from traffic for firebox repairs.

Minor fissures have been discovered in the outer wrapper of the BR standard 9F which is being attended to by the railway’s own staff in the NNR Engineering boilershop.

Although not significant, the location of the repair work (towards the top of the boiler backhead) means the cab of ‘Black Prince’ will have to be removed to allow access to the affected areas.

Edmund Crosthwaite, from the Friends of Black Prince support group, said the engine may miss some of the railway’s upcoming events as a result.

“Unfortunately what should be a straightforward job is complicated by the location of the cracks,” he said. “Taking the cab off just adds to the time required to fix them.”

“This means No. 92203 probably won’t be in one piece in time for the NNR’s Spring Steam Gala on April 5-7, and depending on what is found after the cab has been removed it may also miss our Friends of Black Prince promotional day on April 20.

“However the railway’s shed staff have got the work in hand and we are hoping the engine won’t spend too long on the sidelines, particularly as the North Norfolk is now gearing up for its main running season.”

‘Black Prince’ was bought by the NNR from wildlife artist David Shepherd in 2016 and has been a mainstay of the line’s services in recent years. Friends of Black Prince was set up by railway volunteers to promote and fundraise for the loco, and was shortlisted in the Heritage Railway Association’s annual awards earlier this year.