By Geoff Courtney
THE owner of an ex-Swanage Railway Standard 2-6-4T enjoyed being in the spotlight with his locomotive when it wowed visitors to Mangapps Railway Museum in Essex on June 11, after seven years of inactivity.
Stewart Robinson, a former BR trainee civil engineer who founded a rail infrastructure company 20 years ago, bought the out-of-ticket 4MT, No. 80078, in 2012, vowing to return it to steam as soon as possible.
And that he has done, following the completion of a major restoration at his Sonic Rail Services premises in Burnham-on-Crouch, just a few miles from Mangapps. It first reappeared at the late May Bank Holiday, but June 11 was its big day as the centre of attention of what museum owner, John Jolly, billed as a London Tilbury & Southend Railway steam day.
Many years on the LTS
This was in recognition of the locomotive’s many years on the LTS line during its 11-year service with BR – a link that meant the tank was returning to its former Essex stomping ground.
No. 80078 ran frequent passenger services and three demonstration freight trains during the day on the museum’s ¾-mile line, offering a stark contrast to another engine working nearby, No. 8 Fambridge.
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