The Flagship Engine Appeal
Returning 5552 to Service
Cornish branch lines have a romantic nature perhaps unlike any other. Through rolling hills to seaside fishing villages and trading ports ran short Great Western and Southern Railway trains. China clay, milk and other Cornish products were transported to mainline junctions for transfer ‘up country’ and the lines brimmed with tourist traffic in the halcyon days of a 1950s summer season. Poems, fond memories and evocative photographs are filled with famed station names and idyllic scenes from this beautiful region.
The Bodmin & Wenford Railway is the most complete and authentic branch line left in the county, with an impressive collection of locomotives, carriages and small artefacts from the glory days of Cornish steam. It operates, in a normal year, on approximately 140 days and welcomes over 50,000 visitors. Its steam locomotives bark as they ascend the steeply graded climbs of its two lines leaving a clear impression on those lucky enough to encounter it.
5552, based at the railway, is the epitomy of the locomotives that worked on such lines. Built in 1928 by the Great Western Railway at their famed Swindon Works, it is of a design seen across the West Country and spent time based at Cornwall’s Truro shed. On withdrawal, it was sent to Barry scrapyard and it’s from there it was saved and brought into preservation at Bodmin. After time under restoration, it steamed again through the early 2000s on the Bodmin & Wenford, delighting many tens of thousands of visitors.
Now, funds are needed to return this heritage locomotive to service. The engine is one of the largest based at the Bodmin & Wenford and is critical to delivering summer services on the line through the 2020s. The railway, ultimately, exists as an educational and conservation organisation and the return to traffic of 5552 will enable visitors to experience authentic Cornish railway history in action in conjunction with our other assets. For example, from late 2021 a china clay demonstration train will be in regular use and work is progressing on the restoration of our Mark One carriages.
The railway has been unable to run passenger trains during 2020 and this has led to a deficiency in funds to complete the already well-progressed restoration. Work on the locomotive’s boiler is nearing completion while its rolling chassis is also at an advanced stage.
To finish the job, £80,000 is needed in short order. This will fund the locomotive’s final works and assembly, with a small amount allocated to a celebratory event in 2021 which will include the visit of an appropriate engine.
We have three donor packages on offer which we would love to sign you up to! Payments can be as little as £19.28 a month, so we hope you feel able to help. We also welcome one-off donations.
The 1928 Package – £192.80 or £19.28 per month for ten months
This package is a great help in getting the overhaul moving, and includes a ticket for the launch of the locomotive, a certificate and a mention on a special plaque at Bodmin General.
The 5552 Package – £555.20 or £55.20 per month for ten months
This package is the one we’d love to see as many people sign up for as possible! The package includes either a launch day ticket and a Jonathan Clay print of the locomotive or two tickets to travel behind the locomotive on a Bodmin & Wenford Fish & Chip train, as well a mention on a special plaque and a certificate. This package also includes an amazing, rare bonus – a tour of our engine shed and workshops to see the work that we’re doing!
The Ulitmate Package – £999 or £99.90 per month for ten months
There are a very small number of ultimate packages available to support the return of 5552. These include a launch day ticket and a footplate ride on the locomotive once back in traffic! You’ll also get at least one one-to-one tour of our engine shed and workshops, too!
How to donate
You can make your donation, marked ‘5552 APPEAL’:
• by cheque payable to Bodmin & Wenford Railway Trust
• BACS to Bodmin & Wenford Railway Trust, CAF Bank, A/C no 00098244 sort code 40 52 40
Regardless of how you donate, please return a copy of our donation and gift aid form, available below:
• by email to [email protected]
• or by post to Bodmin & Wenford Railway Trust, 5552 Appeal, Bodmin General Station, Bodmin, Cornwall PL31 1AQ