A newly-restored steam locomotive which was damaged when a tree fell across the line at the Severn Valley Railway has been repaired ahead of schedule and is back in action in time for next week’s Autumn Steam Gala.
BR Standard 4 locomotive No. 75069 had been out of action since 23rd July, when it hit a tree which had fallen across the track between Hampton Loade and Highley during bad weather.
The locomotive wasn’t hauling a train with any passengers on at the time of the incident and nobody was hurt, though the impact caused minor damage to the track, causing part of the line to be closed-off for the day while repairs were carried out.
The collision also caused some damage to the locomotive, which had only returned to steam in February for the first time in more than 24 years, following the most extensive restoration project the SVR has ever completed – forcing it to stay off the tracks once again.
However, the SVR’s Running Repairs Team at Bridgnorth has worked tirelessly to repair the engine, and five weeks later – two weeks ahead of schedule, it is back up and running in time to feature at the railway’s flagship Autumn Steam Gala, from 19th-22nd September.
The SVR’s Engineering Services Manager, Neil Taylor, explained the work involved: “Team leader Will Marsh and his team had to remanufacture two new sets of steps, re-new the steam heat and vacuum brake pipework, remove and check the bogie, dress out flats on the driving wheels, refurbish the running plate, remove and check the draw gear, refit new drain cocks and associated pipework and refit refurbished guard irons.
“Although I wouldn’t call it a major repair operation, there was a lot to do in a short space of time for it to be ready for the Gala.”
No. 75069 pulled its first passenger service for more than 20 years on the 16th February, following an extensive re-build which took the SVR’s Engineering Services Motive Power department more than 25,000 man hours to complete.
Lewis Maddox, the SVR’s events co-ordinator, said: “We are delighted to have No. 75069 in full steam once again. The team which carried out the repairs have done such an amazing job to complete the work two weeks ahead of schedule, meaning that the locomotive can be in action for our Autumn Steam Gala.
“Visitors will now get the chance to see it working alongside a fellow Standard 4 – No. 76017, which is visiting especially for the event, which will be a really special sight.”
The Autumn Steam Gala runs from September 19th – 22nd and features a trio of visiting locomotives – Standard 4 No. 76017, No. 34092 City of Wells and Q Class No. 30541 which will be working an intensive timetable alongside the SVR’s homefleet.
Trains will run throughout the night on Friday and Saturday, enabling people to experience the railway as they’ve never done before. There’ll also be a Guild of Railway Artists exhibition, miniature railways and walk-on breakfast trains are also on offer.
Tickets for the event are now on sale.