BR Standard 4 locomotive No. 75069 has been out of action since July 23, when it hit a tree which had fallen across the track, which runs between Kidderminster and Bridgnorth, during bad weather.
The locomotive wasn't hauling a train with any passengers on at the time of the incident and nobody was hurt – though the impact caused minor damage to the track, causing part of the line to be closed off for the day while repairs were carried out.
The collision also caused some damage to the locomotive, which had only returned to steam in February for the first time in more than 24 years, following the most extensive restoration project the Severn Valley Railway (SVR) has ever completed – forcing it to stay off the tracks once again.
However, the railway's running repairs team has worked tirelessly to repair the engine and five weeks later – and two weeks ahead of schedule – it is back up and running in time to feature at Severn Valley's flagship Autumn Steam Gala running between September 19 and 22.
Neil Taylor, SVR's engineering services manager, said: "Team leader Will Marsh and his team had to remanufacture two new sets of steps, re-new the steam heat and vacuum brake pipework, remove and check the bogie, dress out flats on the driving wheels, refurbish the running plate, remove and check the draw gear, refit new drain cocks and associated pipework and refit refurbished guard irons.
“Although I wouldn’t call it a major repair operation, there was a lot to do in a short space of time for it to be ready for the Gala.”
No. 75069 pulled its first passenger service for more than 20 years on February 16, following an extensive rebuild which took the SVR's engineering services motive power department more than 25,000 man hours to complete.
Lewis Maddox, SVR's events co-ordinator, added: "We are delighted to have No. 75069 in full steam once again. The team which carried out the repairs have done such an amazing job to complete the work two weeks ahead of schedule, meaning that the locomotive can be in action for our Autumn Steam Gala.
“Visitors will now get the chance to see it working alongside a fellow Standard 4 – No. 76017, which is visiting especially for the event, which will be a really special sight.”
The Autumn Steam Gala features a trio of visiting locomotives – Standard 4 No.76017, No. 34092 City of Wells and Q Class No. 30541 which will be working an intensive timetable alongside the SVR’s homefleet.
For more information, visit www.svr.co.uk/autumngala or call 01562 757900.