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Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 39 - Autumn / Winter 1980

SR West Country Class 4-6-2 - 34016 Bodmin

Bodmin Returns to Life

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Mid-Hants - Bodmin's Steam Test at Ropley

Although we cannot claim any credit for the marvellous restoration of Bodmin, she is nevertheless a part of our history at Quainton. From July 1972 to the end of November 1976, 34016 was an undoubted attraction in the up yard - for visitors who were able to compare the bulky outline of the rebuilt Bullied Pacific with the graceful profile of King Edward I, both engines refugees from Barry scrapyard. We remember too John Bunch, Richard Heather and, of course, the delightful Jayne Blake who joined in the work during these earlier stages of dismantling and painting of Bodmin and manned the sales stand on Open Days.

Now we warmly congratulate them and the Mid Hants. Railway in completing the work so successfully. Truly Bodmin is a glorious tribute to the skill and perseverance of the team at Ropley who, for nearly three years, have carried out the complete overhaul and beautiful repainting of the Pacific, often under very difficult conditions.

On Saturday 22nd September, a ceremony took place at Alresford Station, when the restored locomotive was formally re-named and returned to service. The ceremony was carried out by the Mayor of Bodmin, Councillor Charles Digby-Harton, who was also presented with a replica name-plate from the locomotive. Bodmin then took invited guests on three successive special trains to Ropley - the present eastern terminus of the railway - and back, and I was privileged to be among those invited by John and Richard to be there. Many other Quainton members were also there, as befitted the long association of the locomotive with our depot. The restoration work on 34016 started at Quainton and finished at Ropley, culminated on 28th August with the final examination by the insurance company boiler inspectors - with the engine, seen overleaf [above], in steam for the first time in fifteen years. During the follow weeks the locomotive was 'run-in' on ordinary passenger traffic and it performed in an exemplary manner before the great re-naming day and continued to give excellent service during the rest of the operating season.

It may be of interest to note that 30,000 hours were spent by the volunteer work force to produce one of the finest restored steam locomotives in the country - and it is also or interest to remember that on Bodmin no boiler lift was necessary. Previous experience with full restoration to working order of ex-Barry engines had been gained with the N Class 2-6-0, 31874 - another of John Bunch's pride and joys.

Currently, at Ropley, the Mid Hants lads are stripping another Pacific, 34105 Swanage and a U class 2-6-0, 31806, and there are groups working on S15 4-6-0, 30506 and LMS 3F 0-6-0T, 47324, as well as industrial locomotives.

Although the Watercress line operates through some three miles of lovely Hampshire countryside at present, it is their earnest hope that before too long they will, with the co-operation of their many friends in British Rail, restore rail links with the main line at Alton. Meanwhile, Bodmin will give much pleasure to enthusiasts and to the public as it journeys within the limits of Alresford and Ropley and we are happy to have been associated, albeit to quite a minor degree, with the return to service of this fine locomotive.

The text in this Quainton Railway Society publication was written in 1980 and so does not reflect events in the 34+ years since publication. The text and photographs are repeated verbatim from the original publication, with only a few minor grammar changes but some clarifying notes are added if deemed necessary. The photos from the original publication are provided as scans in this internet version of this long out of print publication.

Bodmin Returns to Life - Quainton News No. 39 - Autumn / Winter 1980

Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
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Page Updated: 17 November 2017