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Wadebridge Museum locomotive exhibition

An exciting exhibition exploring the history of the southern region express steam locomotive Wadebridge, is currently running at Wadebridge Museum until Saturday, 30th September.

Among the first batch of engines built at Brighton works in 1945 was 21C107. These were a class of engine known as Light Pacifics and designed by the Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Southern Railway, Oliver Bullied. On the 31st October 1945 this engine travelled down to Wadebridge to be named 'Wadebridge'.

Wadebridge was withdrawn in 1965 after only 20 years in service, covering 823,193 miles. She was sold to Woodhams scrapyard in South Wales and there she languished for 16 years, until in 1981 she was purchased by the Plym Valley Railway. A company was then formed – Wadebridge 34007 Co. Ltd. – and subsequently bought the engine from the Plym Valley. The company’s sole purpose was to restore the engine to full working order.

In 1992 she was transferred to private sidings in Bodmin, and she was there for the next 14 years whilst the restoration took place under the direction of Dave Mitchell. In 2006, Wadebridge returned to steam. She was given her 10-year boiler certificate and her inaugural trip was from Bodmin General Station with coach loads of well-wishers after a renaming ceremony.

Withdrawal from service in 2016 meant that 34007 was stored at the Mid Hants Railway and waiting her turn on the list of engines to be returned to traffic. While a lot of money had been saved from hiring fees, there was not enough for a full restoration, so fundraising was again needed. However, once again 34007 found a saviour in the form of a Mr Alex Chomeni, whose investment in the engine enabled Wadebridge to be sent to Riley’s Engineering in Lancashire in 2022 for a full restoration.

It’s hoped Wadebridge will return to steam in 2026, with the possibility of mainline running. The current exhibition at Wadebridge Museum features details of the current restoration, as well as the naming and renaming ceremonies.


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