Santa with train

Our Santa Special trains are now running, but are all fully booked - Click here for more details.

To avoid disappointment, please do not travel to the railway for these trains unless you have already booked your tickets in advance. If you do have tickets booked, then please make sure that you arrive in good time for your train.

Santa with train

We are now taking advance bookings for our Santa Special trains - Click here for more details.

You can book online for trains where seats are still available.

For the record, this page contains the following information about the appeal to return ‘No. 6’ to steam.  This appeal is now closed.

A separate page contains the following information about the locomotive itself.

Current Progress of the Project

The overhaul of No. 6 (Hawthorn Leslie 3860) had become a very major project.  Perhaps not as major as those overhauls that have involved constructing complete new locomotive boilers, but it was not far behind them in size and cost, which is partly why there was such a long delay before it was even started. 

As explained in the separate page that describes the history of the locomotive, the overhaul of the chassis was a substantial piece of work, as it involved stripping it down almost completely, and even replacing some of the rivets that held the frame plates together.  Beyond that, we had never previously had to do any work ourselves on a boiler that involved replacing parts of the platework.

For the boiler work we did as much ourselves as we were able to do, by removing the corroded sections from both sides of the firebox wrapper plate, and taking the tubes out of the boiler, leaving it as shown in the pictures below.  But the rest was going to require large amounts of money, which is why we needed to raise funds to enable us to complete the work. 

boiler of No. 6

boiler of No. 6, showing the removed firebox plate

boiler of No. 6, showing the front tubeplate

What Needs to be Done

From this point on, the boiler would have to be sent away so that all of the remaining repairs to the boiler could be done by skilled boilermakers, and their work is not cheap.  When the repaired boiler would eventually be returned to us then some work would be needed to finish assembling the locomotive, and this would involve some costs, as well as volunteer effort.

Hence, our initial estimate was that completing the overhaul would probably cost about £60,000.  This was far more than we could budget for locomotive repairs as part of our normal operation, which is why we started an appeal for funds to enable us to return No. 6 to steam. 

Specifically, our aim in this appeal was to raise as much of this sum as we could, in time to have the locomotive back in steam for 2020, when it would be 85 years old.  We were looking forward to seeing it running again as it was in the picture below (taken in 1971, when the motorway was still under construction).

No. 6 on a passenger train in 1971

[Picture from the MRT Photo Archive, taken by Ian Smith]

How You Could Have Helped

We have now closed the appeal, but while it was running you could have helped us either by buying one or more  of the parts that were needed, or by contributing to the cost of the work involved in doing the repairs.  For instance:

  • £2.50 would buy us one of the many rivets that were needed for fitting the new firebox plates;
  • £20 would buy us a new stay for the firebox (and we needed 153 of them);
  • £25 would buy us a new tube for the boiler (and we needed 170 of them);
  • £40 would cover the cost of installing one of the new stays in the fire box (and we didn't try to count them!);
  • £45 would cover the cost of installing one of the new tubes in the boiler;
  • bigger sums than this would help contribute to the specialist work required to replace the fire box side plates.

Current Progress of the Appeal

The amount that this appeal raised will be shown here shortly.

Our thanks to everybody who has contributed so far.

The other pages that give more information about this project are as follows:

  • Raising Steam In No. 6, which describes the history of the locomotive and the overhaul that had been started.
  • Overhaul of No. 6 Part 1, which describes a lot of the mechanical work that had to be done to finish this overhaul.
  • Overhaul of No. 6 Part 2, which describes the remaining work that had to be done, once the boiler had been sent away, in order to complete this overhaul.

More Information

Other pages provide more information about:

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