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Help the ‘Lady’ steam in 2013!

A Saint for the 21st Century

100 years ago this year, the construction started at Swindon of the last ‘Saint’ class 4-6-0, No 2955 Tortworth Court.  It is also the 60th anniversary of the last time that a ‘Saint’ – No 2920 Saint David steamed, in 1953.  One was almost saved, 2935 Clevedon Court but it has always been a sadness among GWR fans than none survived into preservation, or, in Jeremy Clarkson’s favourite phrase, always delivered after an appropriate dramatic pause: ‘until now’ .

For years the remnants of 4942 Maindy Hall have been in the birthing pains of a retro-conversion back to saintliness but it is getting very close to the time now when we will finally be able to see and hear a Saint moving on our rails again.  Much of the basic work has been done and the locomotive is now entering the home straight for a hoped for steaming of 2999 Lady of Legend this year or early next.

I doubt that there can be anyone alive who can remember a Saint in original form but the Didcot Railway Centre will be producing a Saint that looks as they used to in the very early days of GWR 4-6-0 development with straight running plate, inside steam pipes and small cab. When it does, it will be one of those memorable moments in steam preservation when you have to pinch yourself to believe what you are seeing!

The new publicity leaflet from Didcot is entitled “Towards the Final Push” which suggest that while 2999′s steaming is not going to be exactly imminent, a last strong input of £30,000 to finance the coupling rods, axle boxes and springs and another £50,000 for other details will complete the project.  As the leaflet says, “We have come so far and are now tantalisingly close to the finishing line.”

Please help the GWS get this engine steaming either this year or next by DONATING HERE NOW!

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