THE return from overhaul of Barry survivor and former Swanage Railway 4MT No. 80078, which was sold to an anonymous buyer four years ago, has been pencilled in for Easter.
Heritage Railway can reveal that the purchaser was former BR trainee civil engineer Stewart Robinson, who founded rail infrastructure company Sonic Rail Services in 1997 as a one-man band in Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex, but now has 70 employees and two satellite offices in central London and Kent.
Stewart was one the original volunteers at Mangapps Railway Museum, which opened in 1989 at a farm a short distance from Burnham, and it on this railway that No. 80078 will make its eagerly-awaited return. It will be the largest steam loco ever to have run on the museum’s ¾-mile line.
The connection between the museum and Stewart runs deep, for not only was he an original volunteer, but James Jolly, son of Mangapps founder John, works for Sonic Rail Services while the company name comes from Stewart’s nickname, which was given to him by James’s mother June.
John Jolly, who as a railway aficionado has watched with interest the overhaul of the Standard 2-6-4T just a few miles from his museum, said: “When Stewart bought No. 80078 the original intention was to replace the tubes, the stays as necessary, overhaul the wheelsets and patch up the bunker.
Read more in Issue 225 of Heritage Railway – out now!