On Saturday February 5th Pendennis Castle moved under her own power for the first time in nearly thirty years.
Early in the morning Steven Tomsett lit the fire for the day, Drew Fermor, Andrew Vaughan and Steven completed the oiling round. Then, with Didcot Loco Manager Leigh Drew, Ali Mathews and Drew Fermor on the footplate the hearty fire soon brought the loco to life - and then they were off!
She has had the most extensive work on her since her restoration at Swindon in 1964 since returning from Australia in 2000. There were a few small leaks found, which have gone on the snagging list, but no major issues detected.
Locomotive Restoration Project Manager Drew Fermor said “To be the first person to make her move again since 1994 in Australia and since 1977 (when I was just 2 years old!) in the UK. THAT was an amazing privilege. To tell the truth, the whole thing was wonderfully uneventful. As she pulled out of the shed in front of the team that had brought her back to life, she just ‘went’. No drama, no problems, just a set of 6’ 8” driving wheels elegantly turning under that classic Castle shape and just the slightest exhaust note. Having stopped her, made her safe and passing our congratulations around in the cab, I jumped down and shared what had just happened with the No. 4079 Team that had gathered to witness their superb achievement”.
Why not come and see her in operation for yourself at Didcot on April 2nd and 3rd?
In the meantime, don't forget to vote for Pendennis Castle in the annual Steam Railway magazine award at the Heritage Railway Association’s awards ceremony later this year. (Update: voting closed on 18 February 2001, and for the record we won!)