After purchase from Woodham Brothers, 61264
was moved by road in July 1976 to the Great
Central Railway at Loughborough. So started
a 21-year restoration project that was to
cost over £230,000.
The majority of the cost of the restoration
was that of the boiler. Following its lifting
from the frames and removal of blue asbestos
insulation in 1978, the firebox was found
to be badly wasted. In fact, both barrel
and firebox were declared to be irreparable.
Six years were spent trying to find someone
to either build new ones, or who would be
willing to repair them. Finally, the proposal
from Pridham Engineering was accepted and
the boiler moved to Tavistock for repair.
Work continued for 10 years, as funds became
available, until the repairs were complete.
The boiler was returned to Loughborough in
August 1995 and refitted to the fully restored
frames in 1996. Following the passing of
the statutory tests in February 1997, on
6th March that year the loco (in LNER guise
as green-liveried 1264) moved for the first
time under its own power in over 30 years.
Twenty-two days later, with its paint still
wet, the first passenger train, for shareholders
and members, was hauled from Loughborough
to Leicester North and back.
1264 was steamed at Loughborough throughout
1997 but in 1998 moved to Carnforth for Main
Line certification. This was achieved on
28th March when, in appalling weather, it
successfully hauled a 420-ton train from
Carnforth to Carlisle over Shap. A Heritage
Lottery Fund grant had been obtained by the
Trust to assist with the costs of certification
as well as outstanding items such as the
new tyres for the driving wheels.
In May 1998, 1264 was the star of London
Underground’s ‘Steam on the Met’,
appearing on the publicity posters for the
popular event. However, the boiler suffered
with recurrent leakage problems and was returned
to Pridhams for further remedial work. Returned
to Carnforth in 1999, the loco was re-assembled
and visited the Keighley and Worth Valley
Railway, before a further test run over the
Settle and Carlisle line.
In 1999, 61264 appeared, for the first time,
working the summer ‘Jacobite’
steam trips from Fort William to Mallaig
on the West Highland Line. Repainted in BR
black livery for the 2000 season, the loco
worked the line for seven more summers, as
well as visiting other preservation centres,
including the North Yorkshire Moors, West
Somerset, Churnet Valley, East Lancashire
and North Norfolk Railway. The loco also
appeared at the 2005 Crewe Works Open Day,
as well as hauling 39 charter tours, amounting
to 11,000 miles of main line running during
The locomotive was moved to Barrow Hill as
home base during 2005. In 2007, 61264 worked
on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway with
through running to Whitby over the Network
Rail ‘Esk Valley’ Line.
In April 2008, the loco was taken out of
service, prior to the 10-year overhaul, having
run over 80,000 miles.
Following withdrawal in 2008, the loco was
taken to the workshops of LNWR in Crewe where
the boiler was lifted from the frames. The
tender and chassis were sent to Barrow Hill
Roundhouse in Derbyshire. Over the next 4
years the boiler was comprehensively rebuilt,
with most major components being renewed
or replaced. The work undertaken, at a cost
of nearly £450k, included an entirely
new inner firebox, smokebox, smokebox door,
tubes, tubeplates (front and back), stays,
outer firebox sides, ashpan, throatplate,
and one third of the firebox outer backplate.
Meanwhile, many sundry jobs were completed
on the locomotive chassis and tender at Barrow
61264 returned to steam and gave her first
public train rides in the yard at LNWR Crewe
on Saturday 27th October 2012. After a further
period of fettling and testing, she returned
to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, which
is now her long-term home, on Tuesday 20th
December 2012. She formally entered traffic
on 2nd March 2013.