80104 – Restoration

80104 arrived at Woodham's scrap yard in Barry Island in January 1966. Its stay was several years longer than 80078's, finally departing in September 1984 to join 80078, having also been bought by the Southern Steam Trust. It was cosmetically restored and placed on display in the head shunt at Swanage where it remained for a number of years. The locomotive was sold to a group of supporters in January 1988 when it became obvious that restoration would not be possible in the near future.

80104 Standard 4 Tank

80104 at Barry in September 1981
Photo ©: Patrick Law

Swindon Works

The locomotive was moved to the former Swindon Works Weighbridge for restoration in November 1989 where it joined 257 Squadron which was undergoing restoration. Work commenced alongside 257 Squadron and the locomotive was dismantled during the summer and autumn of 1990.

80104 Standard 4 Tank

80104 is dismantled outside the Weighbridge at Swindon Works

Once 257 Squadron had been completed we were asked to vacate the Swindon works site which meant finding another location to continue the restoration work. Fortunately the Avon Valley Railway at Bitton allowed us to move 80104 there in January 1991 and a small team kept the restoration work progressing for the next few years.

Move to Swanage

80104 Standard 4 Tank

80104 is assembled at Swanage

As a result of both the opening of Herston works and the negotiation of a financial package to speed its rebuilding, 80104 returned to Swanage during August and October 1995. Various major milestones were passed during the following year including re-wheeling. The side-tanks and bunker were rebuilt at Bitton and the boiler was refurbished by a specialist firm. By Autumn 1996 the locomotive was beginning to take shape and in March 1997 the boiler passed its hydraulic test and then its steam test. Both of these tests required the boiler to be out of the frames.

80104 Standard 4 Tank

80104 nearing completion at Herston Works

Once the boiler had been fitted to the frames the final assembly of the cab and countless other fittings took place and the locomotive left Herston Works on a low-loader for the road journey to Norden in April 1997. The locomotive had been booked for the 30th Anniversary re-run of the Dorset Coast Express on the 7th May and a final flurry of activity saw the engine completed in plain black livery bearing the number 80011. The locomotive made a few test trips up and down the line and then made its first public appearance with 257 Squadron which was disguised as 34023 Blackmore Vale for the re-enactment of the Dorset Coast Express.

The locomotive was then given a proper paint and lining job and joined the operational fleet of the Swanage Railway.