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Darlington Railway preservation Society reunited with engine
STEAM enthusiasts who painstakingly restored an engine only to find they could not afford to run it were chuffed to be reunited with it at its new home.
Members of the Darlington Railway Preservation Society spent years working on the Northern Gasworks No1 locomotive.
It had been hoped to run it at the Head of Steam railway museum, in the town, but a funding shortage meant that was not possible.
The engine, which was built in Bristol in 1953 and spent its working life in the North-East, has been put to work on a two-mile heritage railway in Oxfordshire.
It will spend the next year taking passengers along the two-mile Wallingford to Cholsey line, which is popular with tourists who flock to the grave of crime writer Agatha Christie, who is buried in a church nearby.
Five members of the society travelled to Oxfordshire last weekend to see the engine in steam and see it running for the first time since its restoration.
They were welcomed by members of the railway society and Wallingford mayor Ros Lester.
Barrie Lamb, a former Darlington mayor and chairman of the society, said members of the group enjoyed seeing their hard work pay off, even though it was so far from home.
He said: “A group of us went down to Oxfordshire last weekend and it was a 500- mile round trip, but definitely worth it to see it in steam again.
“We were well looked-after by the people from the railway.
They are really nice people and it is a nice place.”
The 30-tonne engine had made the delicate journey to Oxfordshire by low-loader two weeks ago.
Mr Lamb said: “It made good time – set off from Darlington at 11.30am and was there by 6.30pm. Seven hours – it took us nearly five hours in the car.
“The engine steamed all day Saturday and Sunday and will be in action again this weekend too.”
Mr Lamb said members of the society hoped to pay another trip to Oxfordshire in the future.
He said: “We will need to keep an eye on it – steam engines are full of trouble, especially one that’s nearly 60 years old.”
The engine is still owned by the society and will be in Oxfordshire for at least a year.
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