73129 was built at Derby in August 1956 as one of a batch of 30 locomotives fitted with Caprotti valve gear. It is the only surviving member of the class with Caprotti valve gear. The only other preserved locomotive fitted with the same valve gear is 71000 Duke of Gloucester.
Motive power depot allocations.
Whilst based at Shrewsbury the duties that 73129 performed included working expresses to Plymouth, stopping services to Crewe and parcels trains to South Wales. At Patricroft it was used for working on coal and freight traffic in the Manchester area. It was also employed on passenger trains to Leeds and working excursions to the North Wales coast during the summer months.
The locomotive was withdrawn from service in December 1967 and sold to Woodham Brothers scrapyard in Barry where it arrived in February 1968.
Apart from having its non-ferrous fittings and pipe work removed, and losing its tender, 73129 remained virtually intact and was subsequently purchased, together with the tender from 75079, by Derby Corporation in 1972 as a potential exhibit for the then embryonic Midland Railway Project. The original tender had previously been sold to a steel works for conversion into an ingot carrier. The replacement tender being from a Southern Region locomotive does not have a water pick-up apparatus. Whilst it was still at Barry spare parts were collected from other engines including from two that have also subsequently been restored – 71000 Duke of Gloucester and 73096.
It was moved by rail to the Derby locomotive works for storage in January 1973 where it remained until February 1975 when it was transferred to the Midland Railway Centre. The journey from Barry was via the Severn Valley Railway as the diesel hauled train make up included 73129 plus 7819 Hinton Manor, 4141, 5164, 4930 Hagley Hall, a Stanier 4,000 gallon tender and a brake van.
Due to other priorities, little was done apart from some conservation and cosmetic restoration until late in 1993 when, with financial support from the Standard Five Fund, restoration to get 73129 back to full working order, began in earnest.
After thousands of hours of voluntary labour and at a cost of £75,000 the engine had a fire in its boiler again in February 2003 and after further assembly work 73129 operational again in 2005, 38 years since it was last in service. The first fire was lit by a volunteer who had spent many hours working to restore the locomotive who had also worked on the construction of the BR Standard class 5 Caprotti engines at Derby in 1956 and 1957.
Since 2005, the locomotive has had further overhaul work completed at considerable cost, including new tyres and new superheater elements, and it has operated at Butterley and visited a number of heritage railways.
73129 is currently out of service awaiting an overhaul which is anticipated will cost £80,000.
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