The West Somerset Railway Association is delighted to announce that the present owners of BR Standard Class 4MT locomotive 80064 have decided to gift it to the West Somerset Railway Association.
The West Somerset Railway is Britain’s longest standard gauge heritage railway, comprising the whole of the former branch line from Taunton to Minehead. It operates heritage steam and diesel hauled trains regularly over most of this line. The WSRA, a registered charity, supports the heritage of the line, and currently owns steam locomotives and rolling stock.
Geoff Garfield, Chair of Trustees of the WSRA said “It is our intention to restore 80064 as soon as possible, so that it can see regular use as part of the home fleet of WSR locomotives. We see it as ideal for that purpose, well able to cope with the challenging gradients and heavy loadings on our line.
We have been working for some time on plans to restore the locomotive. Our current restoration project, WSRA owned 4561, is well under way: we are planning to restore 80064 in tandem. We are currently finalising our plans and will share more details as soon as we can. We are very grateful to Colin Turner, Martin Nichols, and the other members of the 80064 group for this opportunity and look forward to welcoming them into our railway family”.
Jonathan Jones-Pratt, Chairman of the West Somerset Railway plc, which operates the railway said:
“We are delighted to receive 80064 onto WSR metals, having operated a standard tank on the WSR before. It meets our needs very well and we are very thankful to the owning group for choosing the WSR to take the engine’s future forward. The PLC is working hard with the WSRA to deliver the restoration plan which will be completed at Williton. This is a landmark moment for the Railway we are really excited to deliver this project. This engine will form part of the WSR home fleet and is more than capable of managing our loads and needs, we are all very excited at the prospect of seeing this engine operating in the future.”
Although 80064 never worked over the West Somerset for British Railways in the steam era, it finished its BR days in the West of England working out of Bristol (Barrow Road). Before then it spent much of its time in Kent, then moving west to work on the former Southern Region lines out of Exmouth Junction. These large powerful tank engines are seen as one of the best designs of the early British Railways era, having been built in 1958, and having a relatively short period in use on the main network, before they were overtaken by dieselisation.
For More information:
Geoff Garfield WSRA Chair of Trustees – E: firstname.lastname@example.org
images copyright Jon Horrocks