SOS to get Swindon DEMU running again

THE Swindon & Cricklade Railway is appealing for extra help in rebuilding a 58-year-old DEMU driving trailer, which replaced another destroyed in an arson attack.

Skilled welders and steel fabricators are required to return the ‘Thumper’ vehicle to its former glory, and the heritage railway is offering free membership to anyone who can help.

The replacement DEMU driving trailer under repair in the Hayes Knoll workshops. SCR

The driving trailer (No. 60901) of the line’s ‘Thumper’ DEMU, No. 1302 a mainstay of services on the heritage line, along with three wagons were destroyed in an arson attack near Hayes Knoll, in May 2016, as reported in issue 216. However, only 15% of the line’s £80,000 claim was paid out by insurers.

A 1959-built Class 205 driving trailer, No. 60669, was shortly afterwards donated by a private individual, a member of the Lavender Line, following the blaze. It had been in storage for 10 years at Throckmorton Airfield near Pershore in Worcestershire.

Project volunteer Adrian Thompson said: “We are basically trying to get the railway back to where it was before the arson attack. It could have got people down, but it’s given people a spirit and that pride to want to restore it.

“We’ve got qualified welders and fabricators there at the minute, but because it’s such a small team we want some more to help us get the work done.

“At the present rate of progress, it looks like we’ve got three years’ work to get it back into service. We are finding more and more work is necessary to bring it back to working order.

On July 1, vandals struck again at the railway, spraying graffiti in orange paint at the line’s southernmost point, Taw Valley Halt. The handle of a piece of equipment was also coated entirely in orange paint.

➜ If you can help, please email Adrian at adge-peanuts@hotmail.co.uk or telephone 07402 050559 and leave a message.

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