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Project to breath new life into 100-ton loco called Sidmouth steaming ahead

PUBLISHED: 18:55 06 July 2017 | UPDATED: 07:55 07 July 2017

Chris Henley, Chris Knight and Chris Hardy lift the chimney into the van.

Chris Henley, Chris Knight and Chris Hardy lift the chimney into the van.

Archant

Works to restore a 100-ton locomotive have been steaming ahead.

34010 Sidmouth seen at Eastleigh loco-shed in 1959, with plenty of smoke in its chimney. 34010 Sidmouth seen at Eastleigh loco-shed in 1959, with plenty of smoke in its chimney.

The steam locomotive number 34010 named Sidmouth lay unused for 40 years and was left in a scarp yard condition, before Southern Locomotives Ltd (SLL) vowed to restore it just over a year ago.

For the past 12 months the group has been working hard, collecting various parts which ‘went missing’ or have rusted beyond repair on the loco, which weighs the equivalent of more than eight double decker buses.

Since the beginning of the project the loco has had new steel tyres on its wheels, thanks to Southern Devon Railway Engineering Ltd in Buckfastleigh, and most of the castings needed to make the other missing components have been sourced.

As well as this, those leading the project also managed to track down a suitable chimney for the scheme, helping to secure what is probably the most symbolic part of the steam loco for the project.

A railway collector found the old chimney under some shrubs in a garden belonging to a fellow enthusiast who was disposing of his collection.

Money changed hands and the 50-kilo chimney, which was about a metre wide, found its way to its new owner’s home, near Honiton, where it was set to be used as a plant pot.

Pleased with his new find, the new owner put a photo on Facebook where it was spotted by Nick Thompson, SLL’s director.

After finding out that the Sidmouth needed a chimney like his, the train enthusiast decided he would rather see it used for its proper purpose rather than as a garden ornament.

It is now in the SLL workshop in Swanage awaiting a good clean-up, minor repairs and several coats of paint.

Nick said: “There is still a long way to go before the loco is back in steam, but the SLL will keep working until the job is done.”

Visit www.southern-locomotives.co.uk for more information on the project’s progress.

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