The Swindon and Cricklade heritage railway is set for a welcome boost this summer as the restoration of one of its steam engines nears completion.
Locomotive number 6695 has been under overhaul at the S&C for several years by the 6695 Locomotive Group, which owns the engine.
It was built for the Great Western Railway by Armstrong Whitworth in Newcastle in 1928 and was withdrawn from service in 1964.
The railway has been without a steam locomotive this year, following the sale of Swordfish.
Swordfish was a small steam locomotive that was based on the railway until April, when the owners of the engine decided to sell up.
The locomotive then subsequently moved to the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre in Quainton near Aylesbury.
As a result, the railway has had to rely on diesel power to haul trains up and down the line.
Publicity manager Allan Bott said the railway had noticed a dip in visitor numbers.
“We have seen a small dip in visitor numbers because we don’t have a steam locomotive.
“The average family likes to see a steam loco, but unfortunately, we don’t have one that’s in service.
“But 6695 will be the mainstay, once it’s in service.”
In terms of the 10-yearly overhaul, the boiler is now back on the frames with the superheating elements now fitted, while the side tanks have also been installed.
Furthermore, the inside cylinders are on the engine with the vacuum pipes now also on.
The S&C hope the engine will be back in steam at the end of July, subject to the locomotive passing its steam test.
Once the locomotive passes its steam test, the plan is for the locomotive to move under its own power for the first time since 2015.
“It’s very close to being in steam, so we are probably going to say the end of July fingers crossed,” Mr Bott added.
“We’re hoping that it will be ready for service in the middle of August, however, these dates can slip due to the nature of a restoration.”
Allan confirmed that the railway is set to have an official launch event for the locomotive, sometime in September.
“We will keep everyone updated on our website and social media when it is in service because we want everyone to see it,” Allan said.