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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.

2 comments

  • Great to see this ambitious project under way and I wish the charity all success. I loved these locomotives as a young trainspotter in the late 1950s. Although never as glamorous as the top notch LNER engines of the 1930s or the Britannia class that provided a final hurrah for steam power on passenger expresses between Norwich and London in the 1950s, the B17s were impressive locos that really invoked the spirit of East Anglia and did sterling service across the region and further afield. The early ones were named after important houses in the region. As well as Sandringham, they included Holkham, Walsingham, Houghton, Quidenham, Blickling, Gunton and Honingham. Later engines were given the names of leading football clubs. Some renaming took place in the late 1930s and 40s. The original 'Norwich City', for example, was streamlined and renamed 'East Anglian' in 1937. However the 'Norwich City' name was transferred to the erstwhile 'Rendlesham Hall'. The yellow and green nameplate was eventually given to the football club and is still to be seen over the players' tunnel at Carrow Road.

    Report this comment

    TPW

    Monday, March 16, 2015

  • "An" historic, bad grammar,as in an hotel, an hundred etc.

    Report this comment

    codcatcher

    Sunday, March 15, 2015

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