Quainton Railway Centre celebrates 50th birthday year by restoring locomotive

Wightwick Hall
Wightwick Hall

In 1978, the Quainton Railway Society bought an old locomotive from a scrap yard in Barry Island, Wales.

Locomotive number 6989 Wightwick Hall has been at the Bucks Railway Centre ever since whilst undergoing an incredibly long and complicated restoration.

Built by British Railways and completed in March 1948, Wightwick Hall worked for 16 years and covered 640,645 miles working in the fast freight and express passenger roles until June 1st 1964.

Wightwick Hall was then sent to the scrap yard where she spent 13 years and five months exposed to the salt air of Barry Island, which took its toll on her bodywork, as well as being stripped of many of her parts.

Her rusty hulk was then spotted by the railway centre’s restoration team who went on to raise the £9,000 required for her purchase.

Wightwick Hall finally arrived safely at Quainton after a long journey, having to avoid the Severn Bridge because she was too heavy.

More than 80 people have been involved throughout this 40-year project.

In December 2018, Wightwick Hall passed her ‘steam test’ allowing her to be used by passengers at the centre.

A special celebratory launch event will be held on Sunday March 3 to allow visitors to come and see and ride on board the locomotive.

If the weather allows, the centre’s miniature railway will also be open for rides.

The shop and café will also be open during normal hours - 10.30am to 5pm.

Entry is £14 for adults, £13 for senior citizens, £10 for children and £42.50 for a family (two adults and four children).

To pre-book visit www.bucksrailcentre.org