Bombardier helps fund restoration of steam locomotive

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Bombardier Transportation, the world’s largest supplier of railway equipment, and owners of the UK’s only remaining train building facility, is helping to fund the restoration of ex-British Railways steam locomotive no. 61264.

Bombardier is proud of its rich railway manufacturing heritage here in the UK and believes that supporting this restoration will not only help to preserve key engineering knowledge, but help to ensure that our important railway history is maintained for future generations to enjoy.

David Horton, an Engineer with Bombardier’s Bogie Division in Derby, has been working on the locomotive as a volunteer since 2004.

He explains: “Steam locomotives may be old technology, but there are parallels between the B1s and the trains which Bombardier builds today. B1s were designed at a time of austerity. As such, they had to be rugged, reliable and cost-effective, using standard components wherever possible. Simplicity and ease of maintainability was the name of the game, factors that still drive our industry today.”

“Operating a steam locomotive on the modern railway is a privilege, but extremely demanding. The sheer number of trains now operating on the network, increased speeds and accelerations, and the lack of infrastructure for servicing steam locomotives, means we have to be right at the top of our game in terms of reliability, just like modern trains.

“To this end, we are constantly striving to improve our locomotive, such as using more modern lubricants, which weren’t available when the locomotive was designed, stainless steel valve seats, to reduce corrosion, and deflectors to keep water out of the axleboxes. In addition, a stock of ‘strategic’ spare parts, e.g. brake blocks, boiler tubes, gauge glasses and valves, is kept close at hand. This is to ensure the locomotive does not spend prolonged periods of time out of traffic.”

“We are extremely grateful to Bombardier for recognising its link with the heritage railway movement and for making this contribution towards the preservation of one of Britain’s most successful steam locomotive designs.”

To find out more about 61264, to join the Trust, or to donate, please visit the website.

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