SR Bulleid Pacific has returned to the Swanage Railway after a £350,000 overhaul by Southern Locomotives Ltd, the locomotive’s owners.
After testing and running in, it is hoped that the West Country class locomotive will haul trains between Norden, Corfe Castle and Swanage by the early Summer.
The locomotive was based at Bournemouth when the locomotive was in service with British Railways in the 1950s and 60s and hauled trains on the London to Weymouth line.
Minus its tender, which arrived at the Swanage Railway previously; the locomotive was taken by road on Monday 26th April 2021 from Herston Works to the road-rail interchange near Norden station, where it was towed to Swanage.
Herston engineering works manager Graham Froud, who also drives steam locomotives on the Swanage Railway, said: “The staff and volunteers at Swanage are delighted to welcome this established steam locomotive which is a firm favourite with our locomotive crews.”
34028 Eddystone was in service on the Swanage Railway until 2014 when it was taken out of service for an overhaul which started in 2018.
“As one of the last classes of locomotives designed before the end of steam trains, ‘Eddystone’ has many features considered innovative at the time.
“From the enginemen’s perspective, the large and comfortable cab – coupled with a free-steaming boiler and a proven capability for high speed running – made the Bulleid Pacifics firm favourites with footplate crews,” added Graham is also the heritage line’s locomotive superintendent.
Swanage Railway locomotive, carriage and wagon director Kevin Potts said: “‘Eddystone’ looks fantastic after much hard work from a relatively small team of staff and volunteers at Southern Locomotives.
“Despite delays caused by Covid-19 – and subject to restrictions in working practices – the overhaul has been completed to a high standard. No. 34028 is one of the Swanage Railway’s fleet of steam locomotives operated as part of a long-standing agreement with Southern Locomotives Limited,” added Kevin.
Simon Troy of Southern Locomotives Limited explained: “The transfer of ‘Eddystone’ from Herston Works to the Swanage Railway is the culmination of three years hard work by the staff and volunteers of Southern Locomotives Limited.
“No. 34028’s extensive overhaul started while our staff were also working to complete the extensive overhaul of another of our Bulleid Pacifics – No. 34072 ‘257 Squadron’ – and then 2020 saw Herston Works closed for several months owing to the Covid-19 lockdown.
“Our decision to get our staff back to work at the earliest opportunity to ensure the completion of ‘Eddystone’s overhaul is due to the generosity of our shareholders in financing staff salaries while our income from hiring locomotives to the Swanage Railway was suspended.
“The return of ‘Eddystone’ to the Swanage Railway is tinged with sadness in that some key figures in Southern Locomotives Limited will not be in Herston Works for future restorations and overhaul work.
“It’s worth remembering those people who made ‘Eddystone’s rescue and restoration possible – Southern Locomotives Director Richard Moffatt, who purchased the locomotive from the Barry scrapyard in South Wales, Willie Bath who masterminded No. 34028’s restoration as well as Bill Trite who brought us together in the first place,” added Simon.
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