On Friday 1 December, Bluebell Railway in Sussex launched an appeal to raise fifty thousand pounds to help bring 3417 back into mainline operation.
The unit has been under restoration since 2015, with the work sponsored by the Southern Electrical Traction Group (SETG).
The work had to pause during the Covid-19 pandemic, but since then, the SETG team has been working towards bringing 3417 back into traffic on preserved lines. It has nearly reached that goal, and is now preparing for an event in the New Year which will formally launch 3417 back into traffic.
The team now needs to raise a large amount of money to underwrite works including:
- fitting GSMR radio equipment and OTMR ‘Black Box' systems to both driving trailers;
- fitting anti-override components to the buckeye couplers;
- fitting Controlled Emission Toilet equipment to the unit; and
- preparing for the installation of Central Door Locking equipment to the unit.
This will mean that more than four decades after being built, 3417 will carry all the equipment needed for its return to the mainline, carrying passengers on the Southern Electric again.