The SDRHT Trust has a long-term aspiration to extend the line and eventually operate between Radstock and Chilcompton, perhaps even further south. Plans are progressing to provide maintenance and workshop facilities for our rolling stock and the Trust would also like to own and operate its own steam locomotives. Unfortunately, the number of steam locomotives that come on the market is extremely small and the price of those locomotives is usually prohibitively high.
The Trust was offered the opportunity of purchasing BR Standard 9F 92207 from its current owner together with a large number of parts to enable the restoration to continue. Following the initial discussions, the Trust conducted a protracted due diligence exercise involving inspections of the rolling chassis together with a review of all the parts currently available for the locomotive. At the same time, the Trust made contact with a number of other locomotives to enquire if their owners were willing to sell or lease the locomotives to the Trust but were unsuccessful. Therefore the decision was made to proceed with the purchase of 92207 and a legal contract was signed.
The Trust views the restoration of the locomotive as a long-term project and has currently set a 10-year timescale to complete the remaining work, progress will be very much dependant on the success of the fundraising appeal that will be shortly launched for this project. The Trust does benefit from having a number of working volunteers with engineering skills and backgrounds, equally though the size of the challenge is not to be underestimated.
Completion of the locomotive’s restoration is estimated at more than £0.5million (for which a dedicated appeal will be set-up) and take around a decade. Around 75% of the parts required exist, although a new tender will be required.
If people get behind this project then the Trust is convinced that in the future it will be possible to see this locomotive in operation at Midsomer Norton and who knows steaming through on the way to Radstock or Chilcompton.
If you would like to support this exciting project and one day see this locomotive in steam at Midsomer Norton, please download a donation form and sign up now.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – 92207 ‘Morning Star’
The Trust has to try and future-proof the railway and having its own 9F will contribute to this. It is also worth noting that when David Shepherd moved 92203 to the fledging East Somerset Railway it put the operation on the map and help to develop the railway. It is also envisaged that once restored the locomotive would be able to visit other heritage railways and act as an ambassador for the Somerset & Dorset Railway Heritage Trust.
Compared to other locomotives of comparable size the 9F is relatively economic on coal. After the cessation of the Pines Express over the S&D 9F’s were used over the line in local passenger services such as the 1.10pm stopping service from Bath Green Park formed of 3 coaches. This is a train that could be recreated with 92207.
Although good progress has been made with the locomotive since its rescue from Barry Scrapyard volunteer numbers have dropped due to poor health and ageing and unfortunately death. In the past 2 years clearly, the national situation has not helped and restoration progress has reduced considerably.
9F’s and the S&D are inextricably linked and 92207 would be a valuable attraction that will generate visits to the railway in its own right. It's been said that visitors to the East Somerset Railway still ask where 92203 is decades after it left there.
The Trust would look to ask members and supporters to sign up for a monthly standing order plus revenue from visitors is likely to increase as their number is attracted by the location of 92207 at Midsomer Norton.
Restoration of the locomotive can continue in the secure premises where it is currently stored. Seeing as the chassis has had many hours and many thousands of pounds spent on it, it would not be viable to bring the chassis to Midsomer Norton until the Trust has suitable undercover accommodation to continue the restoration. The boiler would remain at the East Lancs Railway until such time as the funding is in place for its overhaul and a contractor for this work selected whereupon it would move to their workshops.
A tender tank and frames will be required to construct a tender but wheelsets from a Class 40 locomotive have been purchased and other significant parts obtained. It is not seen that the lack of a tender is a major obstacle and indeed were the locomotive to be completed before the tender is complete there is the option to borrow one from another group whose locomotive may be out of traffic.
There is no definitive record that 92207 travelled over any part of the S&D. It did travel far and wide during its time with British Railways including down to the south coast of England. It was allocated to Bristol St Phillips Marsh although it was transferred to Newport Ebbw Junction a month or so before the trail run of a 9F over the S&D on the 29th March 1960 by 92204.