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5637 STEAM
LOCOMOTIVE GROUP

 
 

5637 LIVES

 
                 
 

 

Initial steam and running-in tests took place on 28th March 1998 and sixteen years after the locomotive arrived at Blunsdon work was advanced enough for  5637 to enter service. Easter 1998 saw the locomotive hauling passengers on the S&CR for the first time, unannounced and probably unnoticed by many of the visitors. 5637 starred in the SCR's gala weekend the following May hauling a passenger train albeit still painted in undercoat.

It is estimated that the whole project cost around £80,000 to complete. It was hoped to eventually carry out the correct modifications to restore 5637 to its original condition but funds to do this were not available at the time. The SLG decided that it was better to have the engine working as soon as possible rather than wait several years for a perfect restoration.


Photo: Peter Todd
5637 moves under its own power for the first time on 28th March 1998

However, the Swindon & Cricklade Railway had not grown to the extent envisioned when it was originally planned to obtain a mainline engine to run services. The S&CR authorities thus decided that they couldn’t afford to use 5637 regularly as it was more economical to use small industrial locos given the current length of the running line.

This coincided with the failure of the East Somerset Railway’s (ESR) main line locomotive, a Jinty Tank, and the desperate need for a loco powerful enough to haul trains up the steep gradients on the line. The 5637 SLG thus decided to hire 5637 to the ESR so the loco could earn enough money to keep running for the foreseeable future.

 

 
         

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