Why 76077? And why now?
Well, in 2017 a couple of things happened. Firstly, owner Chris Hinton was looking for a way to see his engine restored. And, sister engine no. 76017 visited the GWSR for the Cotswold Festival of Steam. Many people commented: ‘What an ideal engine for this railway – whatever happened to 76077?’ That, along with the GWSR Board’s wish to see something happening to this ‘forgotten’ engine led to a group of people from the railway’s steam locomotive department getting together and forming Toddington Standard Locomotive Ltd.
The chassis, boiler and other components were retrieved from their resting place and cleaned, shot-blasted and painted. The wheels were sent to the South Devon Railway for the crankpins and journals to be machined while the chassis was sent to Locomotive Maintenance Services at Loughborough where initial restoration work is being carried out. The boiler remains at Toddington for the time being. Fortunately, the locomotive is fairly complete in terms of components (apart from the tender) and are, including the boiler, in surprisingly good condition.
Meanwhile, in October 2018, Chris Hinton formally handed his engine over to the company which is now seeking shareholders and offers of practical assistance.
This is an extraordinary opportunity to get involved with one of the last major ex-Barry locomotive restorations. It may not have a fancy name or have been the member of a famous class of express engines. But it is a highly practical locomotive for a heritage railway – being powerful and easy to maintain thanks to its ‘standard’ design. It is also impressive – its working parts are all on show and there is nothing more fascinating than to see the complexity of the valve gear turning the wheels as the engine gets under way.