We are pleased to be able to tell you what has been planned once our flagship locomotive “Dinmore Manor” returns to steam this summer . We can announce that we plan to be at the West Somerset Railway’s 2013 Autumn Gala, running for a strictly limited number of days around the event. The date of this year’s WSR Gala is 3rd/6th October and the engine should fit in beautifully with the autumn colours and the Cambrian theme.
The Hire Team from DMLL has been talking to a number of heritage railways with the aim of securing the best combination of long term security and maximising income whist trying to present the option of attractive, varied running turns for “Dinmore Manor”.
We are delighted to announce that we have now reached an agreement with the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR) to operate on their line running north from Cheltenham through Toddington towards Broadway once ‘Dinmore Manor’ returns to steam.
The agreement offers many potential benefits for both organisations, because we shall have the opportunity to run in territory that is new to ‘Dinmore Manor’, near to the tourist ‘hotspots’ of England’s Cotswolds and Stratford Upon Avon -as well as being able to operate 7820 elsewhere during the ‘closed season’ and for agreed periods during the main GWSR operating season. It is through this spirit of flexibility that we shall be able to operate at the WSR’s Autumn Gala and at other times if we are requested.
What makes the next 2 years even more interesting is that we plan to commemorate 7820’s journey from a scrapyard wreck to restored glory by taking ‘Dinmore Manor’ back to the railway that first secured the locomotive by bringing it out of Barry in 1980. Next year (2014), the Gwili plan to complete the extension of their operating line south from Bronwydd Arms towards Carmarthen and we have agreed in principle that ‘Dinmore Manor’ can return to the ‘Cambrian Coast’ line to join their celebrations. We anticipate that this will provide mutually beneficial publicity and welcome income for both organisations.
Our updated 12-month programme now includes:
· Assembling the chassis for early June
· Refitting the boiler to 7820 in July
· Dinmore Manor appearing as a static exhibit the Tyseley ‘Open Day’ on 22nd June
· 7820 entering service on the GWSR – probably now in September
· Appearance at the WSR Autumn Gala in October
· Visit to Gwilli Railway in early 2014
Longer Term Plans
We have always stated that we will develop plans to deliver the company strategy that was part of the ‘New Horizons’ Plan. Our 2 other locomotives which are in unrestored condition and waiting for the overhaul of ‘Dinmore Manor’ to be completed will each need long and expensive restoration programmes to return them to operation. During the overhaul of 7820, we have been limited by both the absence of covered accommodation and the number of volunteers, so we have sought out ways to broaden our support and provide a base better suited to the work that will be required. We are, therefore, delighted to report that we have concluded a second, independent agreement with the GWSR to support the restoration of 2874 at their Toddington base.
Although plans for this locomotive cannot yet be fully developed, we believe that the agreement to move this locomotive to Toddington will be mutually beneficial for both the GWSR and ourselves. The GWSR have a young team of enthusiastic volunteers who are both experienced in restoration and very keen to be involved with another. We happen to have just what they need.
This means that work can start on 2874 later this year at Toddington. The facilities there ensure that the work can be carried out under cover when required, so not to be weather dependent, and includes the use of their extensive machine shop, which will bring with it a significant cost saving as restoration progresses. Initially the work will involve the stripping down of the components of the engine and cataloguing all the work required to make each piece ready for reassembly in the future. 2874 is the preferred choice for our third engine because of its original build. No other 28xx with inside steam pipes is likely to steam in the future.
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