The Watercress Line is delighted to announce that work will shortly start on preparing unrebuilt West Country Class 34007 Wadebridge for overhaul by undertaking a full engineering assessment that will see the locomotive partially dismantled over this coming winter. This has been made possible by the extraordinary generosity of Mr Alexander Choremi, whose very large donation has enabled us to get the project under way. Mr Choremi, who lives in Switzerland, is a long-standing supporter of UK steam locomotive preservation and has accepted the honorary position of Patron of 34007 Wadebridge.
The detailed inspection of the locomotive, including non-destructive testing of the boiler will be carried out at Ropley Works, on the Watercress Line, and will enable the actual overhaul to be planned and costed. This work will be conducted alongside the existing heavy overhauls of 35005 Canadian Pacific and 34105 Swanage. The generosity of Mr Choremi will ensure that work on 34007 does not interfere with these other overhauls.
Our vision for Wadebridge is ambitious. If the outcome of the inspection is favourable, we will return to the main line for the first time since withdrawal in 1965.
Wadebridge entered service with the Southern Railway in 1945, and is the oldest surviving member of a class of locomotives that totalled 110 in number. As built, Wadebridge was painted in the Southern Railway’s Malachite Green and numbered 21C107.
At this point it is impossible to estimate for certain how long the overhaul will take and it will partly depend on the rate at which further funds can be raised. A full appeal will be launched as soon as the engineering assessment is completed in spring 2021, with the hope that we can enjoy the stirring sight of an unrebuilt Bulleid romping out of Waterloo or Victoria in 2025. In the meantime donations to assist with the project will be welcomed and can be made through the Wadebridge Just Giving page.
We know how exciting this news will be to the very many 'Spam Can' enthusiasts across this country and beyond.
Wadebridge's 10 year Boiler Ticker expired in 2016. She was taken out of service and joined the queue to enter the Mid-Hants Railway Ropley Works. It is likely to be a number of years before the boiler can enter the railways boilershop. If you would like to help fast track the return of our engine, please follow this link to the Wadebridge 34007 Money Giving Page
Wadebridge was taken out of service last year when its 10 year Boiler Ticket expired. The locomotive is currently waiting an overhaul, but it will be a number of years before the boiler can enter the Ropley boilershop.
An opportunity has arisen to send Wadebridge to an outside contractor to have the boiler overhauled. Although a substantial amount of money has been earmarked for the restoration but it is insufficient to complete the job. The Mid Hants Railway are running a Fast Track appeal and if you donate via the Mid Hants Railway your name will be entered into a draw, the winner of which will receive the 72A Exmouth Junction shedplate that has been on Wadebridge's smokebox during its final years of running on the Watercress line.
Visit the Mid Hants Railway's appeal for further information.
Wadebridge was at the Great Dorset Steam Fair on 25th August 2017. Wadebridge was still renumbered as 34019 (Bideford) and appeared weathered. Here are two links to photographs from the event.
There is also a YouTube Video by Aiden Strand covering all of the Steam Fair. Wadebridge is seen after 10 minutes and again after 31 minutes.
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