THE autumn gala season is known for bringing out heart-warming examples of inter-railway
co-operation, and the West Somerset Railway’s (WSR) September 27-30 event provided the perfect illustration.
Just five days before the start of the gala, organiser Don Bishop received the news Swanage Railway-based ‘4MT’ 2-6-4T No. 80104 would be unable to attend as it was required to stay in Dorset to cover for failed ‘T9’ No. 30120.
This was something of a blow as on-hire ‘S160’ 2-8-0 No. 6046 had already been withdrawn from the line-up, and another locomotive loss would seriously impact on the timetable.
Mr Bishop therefore began the search for a replacement locomotive, and contacted the Llangollen Railway to see if fellow 2-6-4T No. 80072 would be available.
Unfortunately, it was under repair, but on inspecting the ‘4MT’ Mr Bishop was informed efforts would be made to complete the work and make the loco available for a trip to Somerset.
This was duly accomplished and, having passed running-in tests in Wales, No. 80072 reached Bishops Lydeard at lunchtime on September 27 – the first day of the gala.
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