Loco steams back home to Severn Valley Railway after a decade
A locomotive that was placed in a shopping centre has returned home to the Severn Valley Railway after 10 years.
The front section of the 68-tonne 7819 Hinton Manor locomotive was on display to shoppers at Swindon Designer Outlet in Swindon which occupies the restored Great Western Railway works – the very spot where the engine was first built for £4,914.
A glass wall had to be removed to retrieve it.
The locomotive was first rescued by the Hinton Manor Fund, with help from the Severn Valley Railway, from a scrapyard in Barry more than 45 years ago.
Hinton Manor last steamed along the Severn Valley in 1994 before its loan to McArthur Glen, the shopping centre operators, was agreed in 2007.
Now owned by the Severn Valley Railway’s Charitable Trust, the engine has been returned to Kidderminster station where it will be on display in the station over the bank holiday weekend.
It will then take place in the Engine House Visitor Centre at Highley alongside other key historic locomotives.
A team of volunteers from Severn Valley Railway (SVR) was on hand throughout the day at Swindon to lend their expertise.
Nick Ralls, SVR General Manger, lead of the Hinton Manor Return Team, welcomed the locomotive's return.
He said: "7819 is an important part of our past so we are delighted to welcome the engine back to the Railway where it will form a key part of our future.’
Kevin Cronin, a second generation SVR volunteer engine driver, said: "Hinton Manor was an enormously important part of my childhood and one of the reasons I became a driver both here as a volunteer and professionally on mainline trains.
"I can vividly recall sneaking onto the footplate as a lad when my dad was driving and dreamt one day of taking the controls – 7819’s return to the Railway today brings that dream a step closer."
Hinton Manor’s place in the shopping centre taken by 7821 Ditcheat Manor from its home in the nearby STEAM Museum.
This in turn was replaced by Shildon No.2818, an engine built in Swindon more than 100 years ago.