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B17 Spirit of Sandringham reborn to one day return to Norfolk’s rails

One of the original Sandringham class engines Kimbolton Castle, pictured in 1951.

One of the original Sandringham class engines Kimbolton Castle, pictured in 1951.

Archant

Enthusiasts are recreating a historic locomotive which once ran on East Anglia’s iron roads.

An artist's impresssion off the engine's main frame, which is being assembled in Wales. An artist's impresssion off the engine's main frame, which is being assembled in Wales.

B17 engines hauled passenger and freight trains across the East from 1930 until 1960. All 73 of the mighty powerhorses were scrapped soon after they were taken out of service.

Four years ago, campaigners set up a trust to rebuild a B17 from scratch, which would be named Sandringham after the first in its original class, which was named after the Royal Family’s Norfolk residence. Now work is about to begin on its chassis, with the first £15,000 of the estimated £2.5m it will take to complete the engine needed to build its main frame.

Brian Hall, chairman of charity the B17 Steam Locomotive Trust, said work would begin soon at the Llangollen Railway Centre, in Wales, where engineers specialise in steam engine work.

“Once the frames are set up, that’s really the birth of the engine,” said Mr Hall. “It could take another 10 to 11 years, depending on the rate of income, donations, fundraising – the whole thing will work out at about £2.5m. Once we cut metal, that gives us credibility. There’s something people can see and touch and get behind.”

To donate or see more information about the project, click here.

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