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PICTURES: Oldest surviving Black Five loco looks better than ever

By Gavin Musgrove

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LMS 5025 has been restored its former glory and made its first public appearance in almost 30 years earlier this week, looking resplendent in its original livery.

It signals a new chapter in the history of the oldest surviving Black Five engine.

The loco's return to the Strathspey Stream Railway follows a major fundraising campaign by the owners – the WEC Watkinson Trust – and one of the most comprehensive overhauls ever undertaken on a preserved locomotive in the UK.

The engine 5025 first entered service on the Highland Main Line shortly after being built in 1934.

The loco is expected to start hauling passenger services again soon.

Now repainted in its original LMS livery, 5025 is timetabled to re-enter service on the Strathspey Railway later this year.

Most of its working life was spent in North West England before the engine was purchased directly from British Railways by Ted Watkinson in 1968 for the then embryonic Strathspey Railway project.

The locomotive was used to run services on the line after it partial re-opening in 1978 and also worked some special trains on the main line.

But 5025 had to be withdrawn from service in 1993 as it was clear that major work was ultimately necessary to save the loco from the scrapyard.

The Black Five class dominated the working of the Perth to Inverness line from the mid-1930s to the end of steam on the route.

Quite a sight: LMS 5025 returns to the Strathspey Stream Railway line

All photos are courtesy of Jane Emsley of Vanilla Moon Photography. For information on photo orders email info@vanillamoonphotography.com

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