It last 'steamed' in the 1950s and now an ambitious project is underway to get a historic locomotive built at Horwich Loco Works back on the tracks to mark a landmark anniversary.

An appeal has been launched to turn the steam engine  into a “living, functioning locomotive” in time for its 70th birthday.

It really is a case of full steam ahead to raise the £150,000 to overhaul the boiler on the 76077 built at the Loco Works all the way back in 1956.

It is now owned by Toddington Standard Locomotive Ltd which announced the latest step in the plan to restore it at its Annual General Meeting in November.

Marketing Director Ian Crowder said: “The boiler overhaul project has got off to a good start with almost £10,000 banked already. 

“It’s important that we raise a ‘fighting fund’ to get the work started sooner rather than later but we will also launch a component sponsorship scheme to fund specific elements of the overhaul, such as tubes and stays.”

The Bolton News: Work needs to get underway to restore the boilerWork needs to get underway to restore the boiler (Image: Andrew Meredith)

The 76077 was last “steamed” in 1957 and once the overhaul is done it will join the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway’s fleet.

It was bought privately in 1984 for restoration work.

The owners also hope to hire it out to other heritage railways once it is running again.

The Bolton News: The steam train was built in 1956The steam train was built in 1956 (Image: Andrew Meredith)

Mr Crowder said: “76077 may not be a glamorous locomotive with a fancy name. 

“It spent its working life in handling goods traffic in and around the industrialised North West. 

“But as a modern heritage locomotive it counts among the most useful and easiest to maintain and operate. 

The Bolton News: Ian Crowther inspecting the historic boilerIan Crowther inspecting the historic boiler (Image: Andrew Meredith)

He added: “What’s more, the very fast pace of restoration seems to have captured the imagination of so many people.

“In less than ten years, we are transforming an incomplete and corroded kit of parts into a living, functioning locomotive.”

The boiler, having been overhauled in Eastleigh in 1964, is generally in good condition but needs to have the front section of its barrel and front tubeplate replaced.

The Bolton News: The restoration work should be finished by 2026The restoration work should be finished by 2026 (Image: Andrew Meredith)

TSLL engineering director Andrew Meredith said: “While it would be possible to carry out repairs, the cost of replacement isn’t too much greater than the labour and material costs of repair. 

“Fitting these new items will help ensure trouble-free operation over the first ten-year boiler insurance certificate and minimise the amount of work that might otherwise be needed at the next overhaul.”

The Bolton News: The team hope to finish restoring the boiler soonThe team hope to finish restoring the boiler soon (Image: Andrew Meredith)

He added: “The boiler has suffered over the past 50 years, being stored outside firstly in the salt sea air at Barry scrapyard and then at Toddington. 

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“But it is fundamentally sound and I’m confident that after the overhaul, it will give good service for the foreseeable future.”

The company now hopes to successfully raise the money they need for this vital stage of the restoration before the get the historic train on track once again in time for the 2026 deadline.

Mr Meredith said: “We are on target to meet that date despite delays during Covid.

“However, to meet our deadline it’s vital that we raise the necessary money for the boiler overhaul as quickly as we can, so that we can press on with the overhaul without interruption due to lack of funds.”

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