We are always looking for TV programmes to do with railways. So we get lots of Thomas the Tank Engine hits and usually little else.

Imagine my surprise when channel hopping to find a programme called Tough Trains on the Travel Channel and it’s brilliant. The link below will take you to the Travel Channel Tough Trains webpage. There are 6 hour long programmes in the series. Tonight is number 3.

Last week’s  took us some 300 miles inside the Artic Circle in Russia and I lost count of the number of times the -30 C outside temperatures were used as an excuse to have a shot of Vodka. The railway serves the Russian gas/oil fields and the marshalling yards are brim full of gas tanker trains. In the first programme the presenter Zay Harding traveled across South America ending  up in Bolivia where there are redundant steam locomotives still by the side of derelict Depots.

You can find the Travel Channel on:

Freeview 42 (6pm to 10pm)
Freesat 150
Sky 249/251
Virgin 288

Tough Trains – Vietnam’s Reunification Express screens at 9pm tonight


I’m always looking for images of 76084 on the internet or in published works. New discoveries are getting few and far between these days but I made one recently.

Whilst browsing around a local antiques centre I came across a book that I had not previously seen by the late Robert Adley MP. I’m familiar with his book ‘In Search of Steam’ amongst other titles. So when I saw ‘Out of Steam’ by this author tucked in a corner on a bottom shelf my interest was piqued.

I always thumb through books of the latter days of British Railways steam in the hope of coming across that not-before-seen image or mention of 76084.

Imagine my surprise when I got to page 150 of ‘Out of Steam’ – the image there determined immediately I would have to buy the book. Stood between 44901 and 76084 in Barry Scrapyard was, as the book describes him, the Last Man of Steam, Dai Woodham. He is holding what looks like a drinks flask and is smiling for the camera and photographer, the author Robert Adley. This is the first image I have seen of our locomotive and Dai together. In fact, if you do a Google image search for Dai himself less than a handful are found.

I am now trying to get permission to utilise the image but it may take some while. Robert Adley is deceased, the book is out of print, the publishing house was taken over by Haynes, Haynes have no archive copy of the book to refer to and the last known address of his widow Jane was in the nineties and several J Adley’s have themselves passed away since 1993.

Let’s hope we are successful in getting permission to use the image. Unitl then you will have to find your own copy of ‘Out of Steam – the Beeching years in hndsight’ by Robert Adley (ISBN 1-85260-202-3). Good luck!

76084 has been in traffic for a whole year now and it is amazing how the time has flown by.

She has been out of action of late having undergone an annual inspection and had her paint job finished off. Yes, you read correctly – finished off.

When the timetable for her return to traffic was set for 13 July 2013 there were a multitude of considerations to take into account. One such was that the North Norfolk Railway’s talented loco painter was on holiday for 2 weeks in the period leading up to 13/7. As much as could be done was on turning 76084 from a primed and undercoated machine into a shinny black ex-BR Standard 4. 

To the casual onlooker she was turned out well but something had not been completed – the varnish coating. To paint a machine that operates outdoors in all climates and generates copious amounts of heat in the process you have to put down several layers of first primer then undercoat then top coat and to protect it all at least a couple of coats of varnish.

Over the past couple of weeks that is just what has been happening to the business end of 76084 – having the top coat protected by varnish. So when she comes back into traffic next Monday (fingers crossed) she will look really well. 

Let us have some photos if you are fortunate to be in her presence. I will have to content myself with the NNR’s webcams.

 76084 has been running for almost a year without a tender water gauge. It doesn’t sound much but not knowing the water level in the tender makes operations somewhat uncertain.
Frequent stops at the water tower to ensure she is topped up has been the norm. Now 76084 need only visit the water tower as and when needed.

The water gauge was fitted during her annual examination by our ‘Engineering Team’ shown here in front of 76084. They are, from left to right, Mel Rutter, Mal Rutter and Dave Husband. Not in the pic was John Oldcorn who fitted the new laminate glass cab windows – a requirement of network rail for locos on the mainline.

Nice to know she passed her examination with some ease – all down to a quality restoration job. A big thank you from all of us armchair supporters. 

As the first anniversary of 76084’s return to service after what the Railway Magazine recently referred to as a ‘protracted’ restoration it is time to take stock.

We have in recent years produced a ‘76084 Calendar’ to raise fund during the protracted restoration. We still need funds for two of the three technologies needed to go mainline. We have successfully raised funds for and procured TPWS. Over the past year so many amateur and semi-professional photographers have taken stunning images of our pride and joy. We would like to put some of them in our 2015 Calendar and produce something that BR Standard enthusiasts at the very least would want to put up at home to view through 2015.

So we are launching our first 76084 Photograph Competition. Put simply:

  • The subject for the 76084 Photographic Competition 2014 is “76084 – her first year in preservation”.  
  • Entries should be submitted electronically by via email to publicity@Standard4.com and must be 72 dpi and between 1MB and 5MB. Entrants should include their own name, address and telephone number in the email.  
  • Only one entry per person. 
  • Entrants must not be professional photographers
  • The competition closes at midnight on Friday 15 August 2014 

A  panel of judges will select a shortlist of 12 (the “Finalists”) which, in their opinion, best illustrate our award-winning locomotive. 
They will consider a range of factors including composition, technical ability, originality and the commercial appeal of the photographs. The public will be invited to vote for the Finalist they like the best. That winner will receive a prize of 2 tickets for a 76084-hauled Diner Special. 

The Finalists will appear in the 76084 Calendar 2015, to be sold in aid of the Company’s ‘Go Mainline’ Appeal and the Finalists may also be published in the 76084 NEWS

The full terms and conditions for this competition can be downloaded from our website 

Whilst the prize is not substantial we hope that enthusiasts will be proud to see their work in our 2015 Calendar.

76084 has been undergoing her annual examination at Weybourne and should now be in the Paintshop having some finishing touches before release back into traffic.

Whilst in the Workshop members of the 76084 Service Crew took the time to fit a speedometer to the wheels as in the top photo and the necessary gauge (clean one on the left) in the cab.

Yes, 76084 entered traffic last year without a speedo so it has until now been down to the experience of the driver to travel at no more than 25 mph on heritage railways. It has just dawned on me that the cab gauge is just above the Driver’s position in the cab. Where else would it be??

Another interesting modification was performed – changing a cab plain window glass to laminate glass (as in car windscreens) in line with Network Rail’s mainline requirements

Well done, Mel & Mal Rutter, Dave Husband and John Oldcorn. A great week’s work. 

It is just over a year since we steamed  76084 at Hepscott then later saw it travel down the A1 on a road transporter. it is coming up to 11 months since it first entered service on the North Norfolk Railway. In that time it has already given pleasure to many people.

Recently the NNR revealed that it carried 157,800 passengers last year. 76084 must have hauled a fair number of them. It ran for part of the summer holidays, in the autumn gala and the Santa Specials plus ordinary trains in between. Usually 76084 was pulling four trains a day. It was in service on 65 days. That must take it passenger total clearly into tens of thousands. Most passengers do look at the locomotive on their train. So, many families, holidaymakers, couples, coach parties and enthusiasts could see that it was 76084 giving them a pleasant ride.

This year 76084 steamed on 12 days at the East Lancs Railway. My visits showed it was largely the general public travelling plus a fair number of enthusiasts. Add several more thousands to the numbers hauled by 76084.

I bumped into a NNR volunteer at another line recently. He said 76084 had steamed for 48 days so far this year at the NNR. I notice that it has been the rostered steam locomotive all this week on the yellow timetable with four round trips a day. Add thousands more passengers to the total, probably into five figures again.

For the general public 76084 is a “proper” engine, that is it’s a locomotive and tender. Its proportions look good. It may not be green, red or blue but it does look smart in its lined BR black livery with early emblem on the tender. It steams well too as any ride behind it or youtube video shows.

Our locomotive has been enjoyed by holidaymakers and residents of East Anglia, people living in the North West and in October anyone in central England will have the chance to enjoy a ride behind 76084.

When we spent years restoring 76084 we knew we’d be delighted when it steamed and that it would be an ideal heritage line locomotive. But I wondered if we realised how many thousands would travel behind it -I certainly didn’t. We are well into tens of thousands and haven’t even completed a year in service. Meanwhile 76084 continues to please its passengers…

I’m really passionate about steam locomotive Motive Power Depot books and am always looking for possible additions to my library. And of course there is always the hope that I might find some new fact about 76084 that has gone unreported elsewhere.

Imagine my disappointment recently when I picked up a book hardbacked to boot all about Standard Locomotives Shed Allocations which listed 76084’s first depot as Skipton. This immediately put doubt in my mind that I had got it wrong on the Standard4.com website. (see 76084’s BR Service page). You’ll notice that 76084 on our listing went to Lancaster Green Ayre before Skipton anyway. 

So how could I verify we have the right facts?

There is a brilliant resource on the internet that I will always recommend to anyone doing research on British steam locomotives. It is BRDatabase.info the ‘Complete BR Locomotive Database 1948-1997‘. And what does it say for our beloved 76084?

The complete information held for 76084 is here which is identical to our own website – PHEW! 76084 did go to Lower Darwen when new in April 1957. But YOU knew that didn’t you?

Thanks to the generosity of a few 76084 shareholders we have achieved enough funding to fit Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS) equipment on our locomotive. But the ‘Go Mainline’ Appeal doesn’t stop there.

TPWS can be thought of as ‘mainline light’ and is the only technology needed for instance for the North Yorkshire Moors Railway to run into Whitby on Network Rail track. To go FULL mainline we need On Train Monitoring & Recording (OTMR)  and Global System for Mobile Communications-Railway (GSM-R) equipment.

So the 76084 Locomotive Company Limited have launched phase 2 of their ‘Go Mainline’ Appeal to raise funds for OTMR. The parts sponsorship programme worked ever so well for TPWS and is being repeated for OTMR. You can see what parts are needed at Standard4.com/go-NR. The cost ranges from £100 to £500 and can be paid for over a period of time.

Picture shows Classmate and one time Shedmate 76079 on the Cambrian Coast. With a little help form our friends 76084 could be doing something like this.

There are a number of Lower Darwen Motive Power Depot fans out there. Whenever a photograph comes up for sale on this subject I encounter competiton.

My wife is so tuned into the 24D/10H all consuming collecting thing that she spotted a 24D Shedplate at a flea market held at the Three Counties Showground last Bank Holiday Monday before I did. My jaw dropped which was observed by the stall holder who immediately informed me it was a replica and I could have it for £8 (marked up at £10).

This sum is 23 times less than what I paid for an original some 10 years ago. The original was on display in my porch which my wife likes to leave unlocked so that her QVC parcels can be delivered when she is out. So buying the replica was a no brainer and is now in my porch with the original safely tucked away indoors.

If you live anywhere near Great Malvern the stall which has lots of railwayana is

usually to be found in the undercover ‘shed’ part of the market.  And there were loads of whistles around the market too!