A small group of active participants in the heritage railway movement are forming a charitable trust to organise and manage the construction of a working replica of locomotive number 81: the first of three designed by Thomas Crampton for the South Eastern Railway and built by the Whitehaven firm of Tulk and Ley in 1847.

The system patented by Thomas Crampton was enthusiastically adopted by railway companies in both France and Germany, and the locomotives subsequently built brought about a revolution in express train services in these countries. ‘Le Continent’ of 1852 is preserved at Mulhouse in France, and the Germans have the beautiful 1927 replica of ‘Die Pfalz’ at Nurnberg. Unfortunately, no British example survives, despite the fact that significant numbers were used both by the South Eastern and the London Chatham and Dover railways. The Trust intends to fill this gap in British railway history.

In the complex process of researching, designing, planning and carrying out the construction of the replica locomotive, the present working group has identified a wide range of opportunities to define and achieve educational, training, cultural and social objectives in Britain, the members of the E.E.C. and other countries. For example:

a. Co-operation between educational institutions, museums and societies in the research vital to obtaining the necessary information to prepare working diagrams, assess the suitability of materials and devise appropriate construction procedures.

b. Working with a wide range of industrial bodies, training establishments and engineering companies to devise training opportunities relevant to the construction of the replica locomotive and the development of modern skills suited to the current job market.

c. The development of suitable programmes for the practical testing of components and the assessment of the information thus obtained.

d. Ongoing co-operation with industry and government bodies to ensure that all current regulations relevant to the construction and operation of the replica locomotive are met.

e. Negotiations and co-operation with local authorities and regional development bodies with regard to suitable accommodation for the assembly of the replica locomotive.

f. Commercial sponsorship programmes covering all aspects of the project, including donations of materials, professional advice, training, legal services and publicity, designed to benefit both the Trust and the sponsoring firm.

g. Programmes associated with the Trust to promote both commercial and tourism opportunities in the towns and regions most involved with the project ( e.g. West Cumbria and Broadstairs ).

h. Increased visitor numbers to heritage railways and museums in Britain and abroad ( and their surrounding areas ) resulting from visits by the replica locomotive.

i. Educational, cultural and social exchange visits between interested groups and individuals from a range of countries resulting from the project.
The above list clearly demonstrates that there will be opportunities for numerous applications to a wide range of charitable funds, large and small, which will have good chances of success.

The present working group needs a wide range of professional and practical skills and experience in order to complete its goals. We would welcome your participation in this project in whatever way you feel you could contribute. Please contact either of the members listed below:

Mike Pease, ‘Little Penfro’, 5 Pembury Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN2 3QY.

E-mail: mikepease154@btinternet.com