‘Brexit Express’ Nancy returns to steam and heads for Ireland


RESTORATION to steam of ex-Eastwell Iron Ore Quarries 3ft-gauge Avonside 0-6-0T Nancy (1547/1908) has been completed. 

Alan Keef Ltd was racing to complete Nancy and dispatch it back to the Cavan & Leitrim Railway (C&LR) in Ireland before Britain exited the EU (RM Nov 2018). The locomotive hadn’t steamed since entering preservation in 1972.

Avonside 0-6-0T Nancy in steam at Alan Keef Ltd on March 23. AVONSIDE NANCY RESTORATION GROUP

Nancy left Keef’s works following test-steaming on March 23 and arrived in Ireland (via Holyhead) on March 28, carrying a headboard proclaiming her as ‘The Brexit Express’!

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Arrival at C&LR’s Dromod base on March 29 (the date originally anticipated for Brexit) also meant she arrived in time for the 60th anniversary of the Cavan & Leitrim Railway’s closure on March 30, 1959. Nancy arrived at Keef’s in 1997 and £160,000 has been raised from donations – and spent – over the ensuing 20 years. 

Rebuilding has included a new boiler, cab, smokebox, water tanks and coal bunker, together with extensive restoration of the frames, wheels and cylinders.

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