76017 was completed in June 1953 at Horwich and was allocated from new to the Southern Region, based at Eastleigh Shed. Its duties at Eastleigh covered freight, semi fast or all stopping turns to Southampton and Bournemouth.
In September 1954 while working the 7:00am Banbury to Eastleigh goods, the driver lost control, and 76017 ran through the catch point and down the embankment. No one was hurt and 76017 was rescued by the Eastleigh and Fratton cranes.
76017 moved from Eastleigh to Salisbury in February 1960 where it remained based until withdrawal in July 1965.
After being withdrawn from service the locomotive was sold for scrap to Woodham Brothers and it arrived in their scrapyard in Barry in January 1966 and remained there until January 1974.
By 1972 76017 had the appearance of being in a worse condition than other members of the 76000 class but after a diligent search of the remaining BR records and a professional inspection by a competent railway engineer revealed that 76017 was in good mechanical condition and had a good boiler. Its tender had previously been sold to Briton Ferry steelworks for use as an ingot carrier, so the tender from 76077 was earmarked. This was slightly different from the original because it was a BR2A tender and it has a water scoop, larger weatherboard windows and handrails than the BR2 tender originally fitted to 76017. 76077 was also stripped of parts to be used as spares for 76017.
Agreement was sought by the prospective buyers of 76017 to move the engine to Quainton.
In 1972 permission was sought to bring 76017 to Quainton. Quainton had been established in 1969 by the London Railway Preservation Society and is now the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre.
When agreement was concluded for the locomotive to be moved to Quainton the purchase was completed two days before VAT was introduced on 1st April 1973. After taking many months to obtain tenders and agree a price, for the transfer of the engine and tender from 76077, they finally moved to Quainton on 1st January 1974.
Some restoration work was undertaken at Quainton but in March 1978 it moved to the Mid Hants Railway where the restoration was completed and 76017 steamed again in May 1984.
After running in service until 1995 (in 1997 it formed a re-created scrap train to mark 30 years since Southern steam ended in 1967) it was stored out of action for many years and was the subject of a dispute between the owner and the Mid Hants Railway which went as far as the High Court before and agreement between the parties was reached. The agreement in July 2009 meant that 76017 stayed at the Mid Hants Railway and that an overhaul would be undertaken which involved both parties.
An overhaul of the locomotive commenced soon after the agreement was concluded and 76016 returned to traffic on the Mid Hants Railway in July 2016 after being fired earlier in the month.
In November 2022 the locomotive was transported by rail to Southall from the Bluebell Railway where it had been visiting for the Giants of Steam weekend. This followed the death of a shareholder of the owning group and the acquisition of the locomotive by John Bunch
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