The Southern Electric Traction Group has announced that Realtime Trains has agreed to sponsor the restoration of the Bluebell Railway’s 4VEP No. 423 417
3417 has been under restoration since 2015 at Strawberry Hill, with attention currently on making the unit fit to be hauled on the national network.
Refurbishing the passenger area will allow the unit to be used in push-pull formation with an equipped locomotive or used as hauled stock on a heritage railway.
Work for the unit will include GSM-R, On Train Monitoring and Recording (OTMR) as well as a CET toilet and Central Door Locking.
Steve Upton, SETG spokesman, said “It’s astonishing and gratifying to receive such a huge vote of confidence from Realtime Trains. This sponsorship, along with the support we have already received from our regular contributors and the wider railway industry, brings 3417 an enormous step closer to carrying passengers once again.”
Tom Cairns, owner of Realtime Trains commented “I am delighted to be able to help contribute towards the SETG’s ongoing work to return 3417 to passenger service. Having seen the work first-hand at Strawberry Hill the SETG team have demonstrated their will and capability to fulfil this goal. Since 3417 spent its entire operational life operating out of London Waterloo, the route I grew up with, it felt right to be supporting this project. I, like many others, look forward to being able to ride aboard this classic train once again in the near future.”
Roy Watts, for the Bluebell Railway, remarked “This is a fantastic gesture. In the midst of the disruption and uncertainty of the last twelve months of lockdowns and restrictions we applaud this hugely positive step in the restoration of No. 3417.”
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