Suffolk: Lottery bid to get back on track

FROM a rusting kit of parts to the gleaming flagship of Suffolk’s only preserved steam railway – that’s what volunteers at the Middy are hoping to see over the next four years.

They are applying for about �250,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore their own locomotive which has been stripped down to a kit of parts.

Visitors to the recent steam gala at the Mid Suffolk Light Railway were able to see the boiler of the engine – while its sister locomotive Wissington was hauling passengers during the three-day event.

The Hudswell Clarke locomotive worked all its life at the British Sugar Corporation factory at Bardney in Lincolnshire until the late 1970s.

It has been at the Middy for about 10 years. Initially it was on loan from the Nene Valley Railway in Peterborough but they had no need for it and it was sold to the Suffolk group for a nominal sum.

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Originally it was on static display at its Brockford museum, but the decision was taken to try to put it back into steam and was taken into the railways workshop for work to start.

Middy spokesman Ed Crosthwaite said the restoration would be a long job: “The full application should go in either in September or in December. We expect it to take two or three months to get a decision.

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“If we are successful, the full restoration should take about three years to complete – so we would look to have it back in steam by 2016 or 2017.”

The locomotive is very similar to Wissington which is visiting the railway for the rest of the summer.

Mr Crosthwaite said: “They both worked for British Sugar and they are both similar to engines which operated on the Middy before it closed.

“Our loco is now dismantled and we really cannot do much more until we get the results of the lottery bid.”

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