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Steam locomotive at Nene Valley Railway 'Derek Crouch' will be restored by The Small Loco Group

A steam locomotive that is nearly 100 years old is being restored to working condition by a team of young engineers.

Hudswell Clarke No. 1539 - also known as ‘Derek Crouch’ - last ran back in 1982 and since then it has been on static display at Nene Valley Railway in Wansford.

Now the The Small Loco Group - a team of about 10 rail enthusiasts based at Wansford Station - are ready to bring it back into life with a full overhaul of the boiler.

The aim is to have the locomotive running again in time for its 100th birthday in and the 50th anniversary of its arrival at Nene Valley Railway.

Volunteer Sarah Derry, who is head of fundraising for Nene Valley Railway and the project, said: “Derek Crouch was built in April 1924 for construction company Sir Robert McAlpine and Sons and cost £1,800. back then.

“It was used to help build the Watford bypass, and worked at Tilbury Docks, before being used by British Sugar on the Wissington Light Railway.

“Derek Crouch came to Nene Valley in 1974, and is now a well-known sight at Wansford Station.”

The restoration of the locomotive will be the first boiler overhaul project for the young team at Nene Valley.

Among them is Nathan Wilson, who also has the enviable role of footplate crew member on ‘Flying Scotsman’ and ‘Tornado’.

The project is estimated to cost £20,000 to £30,000. Donations can be made through www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/sarah-derry-2

On Sunday, Nene Valley Railway held a Vintage and Steam Gala with traction engines, motorbikes bikes and brake van rides pulled by The Blue Circle, built in 1926.

Children were entertained by a large Lego exhibition, a vintage roundabout and the popular loco Thomas making trips from Wansford Station to Yarwell and back.

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