There will be a third “debutant” steam engine at the Spring Steam Gala between April 27th and 30th when B.R. Standard 4MT 2-6-0 number 76017 works its first ever trains between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead.
The locomotive was built at Horwich in 1953 but despite its origins in the North West of England it spent its mainline working life on the Southern Region, being based at Eastleigh from 1953 to 1960 and Salisbury from 1960 until it was withdrawn in 1965. Its most recent overhaul was completed in 2016.
115 of the class were built and four have survived in preservation. The engines were mainly intended for freight work but they could be found on the boat trains between London Waterloo and Lymington. This was because nothing of greater length could use the turntable at Brockenhurst. (76017 will happily fit on the Minehead turntable). The West Somerset has welcomed number 76079 in the past for both gala and longer term periods of hire and it will be good to have one of these capable engines in action here once again.
Today the locomotive is privately owned and normally based on the Mid Hants Railway. We thank the owners and the MHR for making the locomotive available.