Work to resume on steam locomotive 5551 The Unknown Warrior

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The LMS-Patriot Project
Credit: The LMS-Patriot Project

The Princess Royal Class Locomotive Trust, the contractor who is assembling 5551 ‘The Unknown Warrior’ has confirmed it is due to resume work at West Shed on the 1st July 2020 after the coronavirus lockdown.

The first task when 5551 arrived at West Shed in August 2019 had been a thorough assessment of work completed so far, with many components being taken off to allow checks to be made.

Rectification work has already begun prior to lockdown being in place.

Boiler cladding for 5551 The Unknown Warrior
Credit: HBSS/The LMS-Patriot Project

The middle driving wheelset/crank axle has already been fixed at Ian Riley & Sons Workshop in Heywood.

A contract has now been signed with the PRCLT and plans are now being made with the trust to establish priorities to enable the chassis to be completed to a mainline standard.

Funding has also been agreed for three months and will continue to be managed on a rolling basis.

With this in mind, a new fundraising appeal, ‘Let’s Get Rolling’ has been launched in partnership with the PRCLT.

With the PRCLT’s fleet, which includes 6233 ‘Duchess of Sutherland’, not earning any income from hire-ins, continued progress on The Unknown Warrior will help to support the PRCLT in what is a difficult time for the preservation movement.

Boiler cladding for 5551 The Unknown Warrior
Credit: HBSS/The LMS-Patriot Project

Ahead of West Shed’s reopening, plans are being made to move components, like the middle driving and bogie wheels, motion and reverser, to West Shed from contractors where work had been completed prior to lockdown.

Heritage Boiler Steam Services, who are producing the boiler for ‘The Unknown Warrior’ has paused work for the time being due to budget reasons whilst other work was prioritised ahead of 5551.

However, work has progressed on the boiler cladding.

The AGM for The LMS-Patriot Company has been provisionally pencilled in for the 31st October at the Kidderminster Railway Museum. However, it is subject to change if coronavirus restrictions change.

Donations to help bring 5551 ‘The Unknown Warrior’ into passenger service can be made via the LMS-Patriot Project website by clicking here.

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