The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway Preservation Society (RERPS) is making a landmark acquisition in the form of a new steam locomotive to run on the 15” gauge R&ER in the Lake District, Cumbria.
The locomotive in question is works number 8457, a 4-6-2 Pacific built by Krauss of Munich in 1929 for work at the Ibero-American Exposition in Seville. Dormant for more than eighty years, but under restoration at workshops in the town of Mataró near Barcelona, the engine is now in need of a new home to secure its future. Therefore The Train from Spain Appeal seeks to acquire, ship, complete and leave a legacy fund for future works to this locomotive, which shall be operational on the Eskdale line after a journey from Spain of over 1,200 miles by road.
No.8457 represents a unique opportunity to acquire an historic item of motive power for use on a commercial basis as part of a busy tourist railway. Its working life lasted from 1929 until only 1932 but, quite amazingly, its boiler is original and looks good enough to resume service after more than eight decades spent in dry storage on the continent. The railway’s boiler inspector Bob Garnett was part of a visit to inspect the locomotive in October 2015. He said that to find a boiler “this old and yet this ‘new’ is unheard of”. Many other mechanical items have been machined new during this rebuild – this is no bag of old bolts. What’s more, this opportunity comes 50 years after the Preservation Society funded the construction of River Mite, the first new locomotive build in the preservation era anywhere. This, then, makes a fine way to celebrate this golden anniversary.
The Train From Spain Appeal is seeking support from anyone keen to preserve and see running this fine example of 1920s railway design and engineering. New-build projects are ten-a-penny in 2016 but opportunities of this nature, particularly in the 15” gauge world, are rare. 644 Preservation Society members voted to back the project at an EGM (with 5 against and 4 abstentions). The engine cannot enter service until necessary works are completed. It is hoped to finish and commission the locomotive by the start of 2018 at the latest. Donations of all sizes will be gratefully received, but The Train From Spain is looking initially to raise £126,000 to restore No.8457 – which is just £15 each between 8457 people!