Spa Valley secures steam future with Jinty purchase

The Spa Valley Railway in Tunbridge Wells has announced that it is to purchase LMS Jinty 47493 from present owner Barry Buckfield, who has owned the former Barry scrapyard locomotive since 1972.

The railway has launched a fundraising appeal to raise up to £200,000 to cover the purchase of the loco and to complete its overhaul.

The loco first arrived at the Spa Valley for overhaul in 2000, entering service in 2004, and proved to be the perfect asset for the railway, hauling typical service trains of four coaches (and more on special event days) with ease and efficiency. The loco was withdrawn from traffic in 2014 and is currently undergoing a ten year overhaul.

The fundraising has been given a boost with a commitment to match fund donations by up to £50,000 (the deadline for match funding is July 2020).

General fund raising is to be incentivised through a monthly covenant scheme, similar to a number of existing new build schemes.

The locomotive’s current overhaul is continuing, and it is hoped that subject to the additional funding required and the boiler repairs, 47493 could return to traffic in three to four years. The announcement coincides with the decision to send the locomotive’s boiler to the North Norfolk Railway for overhaul with work due to commence soon. It is hoped the work will take around two years to complete.

Spa Valley Railway trustee Matt Dives said, ‘This is a great opportunity to purchase a locomotive which has a very good pedigree for hauling passenger trains. Throughout its previous boiler certificate, it clearly demonstrated its ability to haul any train the railway required with ease. I am very happy Mr Buckfield has recognised how well we have looked after the engine over the last 19 years and thank him for giving us this great opportunity to secure 47493 for the members and volunteers of the Spa Valley.

‘The appeal is already off to a terrific start with the offer of match funding, the money raised will not only purchase the engine but complete its overhaul which is ongoing at Tunbridge Wells West.’

The railway has become heavily reliant on hired steam in the last five years, but the purchase of 47493 together with Hunslet ‘Newstead’ making the railway its home for overhaul should see a turnaround in the fortunes of the home fleet in the next five years. Matt added, ‘The railway has become dependent on hired in locomotives recently, but I hope this is the first step towards securing the future of steam on the Spa Valley. The team at Tunbridge Wells is doing a fantastic job and I hope this is reflected in this announcement.’

Appeal details can be requested by contacting ‘Jinty Appeal c/o Spa Valley Railway, West Station, Nevill Terrace, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN2 5QY or

e-mailing jinty47493@spavalleyrailway.co.uk

#SpaValleyRailway #LMSJinty47493

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