5521

5521 at Norchard Low Level Station on the Dean Forest Railway - October 2009.jpg

5521 was built at Swindon in 1927 and spent most of its working life on branch lines in the West Country, going originally to Newton Abbot. Later it was employed at other depots including Taunton and Plymouth Laira from where it was withdrawn from service in April 1962. After withdrawal, having run just over a million miles, it spent time at Barry and Bishops Lydeard before Richard and William Parker bought it in 1980.

It moved first to the Dean Forest Railway, then to the industrial estate in Lydney, then to Swindon Works, then to the Swindon & Cricklade Railway and back again to the Dean Forest Railway before it was finally restored at The Flour Mill in the Forest of Dean from 2004 to 2007.

In April 2007, 5521 went by sea from Hull to Gdynia in Poland via Helsinki and featured in the Wolsztyn Parade. It then travelled to Budapest, Hungary where it worked intermittently with MAV Nosztalgia, the heritage rail operator. In September 2007 it piloted the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express from Budapest Keleti to Kelenfold stations on its return from Istanbul to Venice before competing in the Zvolen Grand Prix in Slovakia and the Central European Steam Locomotive Grand Prix at the Railway Heritage Park in Budapest. It returned to Poland and in May 2008 again appeared in the Wolsztyn Parade before operating suburban services from Wroclaw to Jelcz Laskowice, to the timings of the electric multiple units it was replacing, for several periods of up to nine days at a time, each with 36 scheduled stops and starts.

In 2009 it returned to England after appearing at the Wolsztyn Parade for the third time. During its time in Europe 5521 suffered no failures but more than once had to haul a complete train and a larger locomotive which had failed during double heading. After returning to England 5521 was displayed for a few months at the National Railway Museum in York alongside other much travelled engines.

5521 operated on the North Norfolk Railway, the Dean Forest Railway and briefly at the Avon Valley Railway before being withdrawn at Christmas 2009 for examination after two collisions, one on the North Norfolk Railway and one on the Dean Forest Railway.

In 2010 5521 attended events at the Bodmin & Wenford Railway, Didcot Railway Centre, the Dean Forest Railway, Severn and Wye Railway. In winter 2010-11 the front end of the locomotive was dismantled to repair the damage to the front extension frames from the 2009 incidents.

Since then, it has visited many preserved lines across the country. In May 2013, at the request of London Underground, the locomotive was painted in red London Transport livery and numbered L.150, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Metropolitan line, and between 25-27 May it operated special trains between Harrow-on-the-Hill and Amersham, along with Met 1, 9466 and Sarah Siddons.

The locomotive was on loan to the Bluebell Railway until summer 2014. The locomotive returned once again to the London Underground during the summer of 2014 for the 150th Anniversary of the Hammersmith & City Lines.

Following the expiry of the boiler certificate in 2016 the locomotive was completely dismantled at the Flour Mill workshops. The overhaul includes a new front boiler barrel section, replacement front tubes and outer firebox work.

It is anticipated that there is a good chance that it will be back in steam in 2018.

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The Flour Mill Under overhaul The Flour Mill
5521 at Norchard Low Level Station on the Dean Forest Railway - October 2009.jpg 5521 at Norchard Low Level Station on the Dean Forest Railway – October 2009

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