80097 agreement signed, sealed and nearly delivered…

A significant milestone was achieved this week in the plan to return ex BR Standard 4 Tank loco 80097 to revenue earning service, some 50 years after being withdrawn from use by British Railways.

A formal agreement has now been struck between the East Lancashire Light Railway Company Ltd and the Bury Steam Locomotive Company Ltd who own the locomotive and who have been undertaking the restoration project since the mid-1980s.

The signed agreement establishes a ‘partnership’ between the two organisations who will jointly oversee the completion of the restoration of the loco within the next 24 months.  In return for the East Lancashire Light Railway Company backing the completion of the project the loco’s owners have made a pledge that 80097 will become one of the ELR’s ‘home fleet’ locos and will remain based on the railway.

The next major stage in the project will be the dispatch of key components to a specialist contractor in the North East where work will start immediately on overhaul of the boiler and these works are expected to take 18 months to complete.  In the meantime work will continue on the substantially complete chassis of the loco ready for the boiler’s return and completion of the re-commissioning.

This is a significant step for us as a group. Last weekend was spent getting everything ready that needs to go with the boiler as it is due to leave on Wednesday 12 November.

However, in order to make sure 80097 returns to steam on time we are still looking for donors to contribute to the fundraising appeal. You can give as little or as much you can spare either via a single one off donation or through a monthly standing order. More details can be found here.

Or you can donate online here.

Thank you for your continued support.

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