‘Lizzie’: £100k needed for
Cash-strapped Princess Elizabeth society launches emergency appeal to return beleaguered ‘Pacific’ to the main line.
AFTER paying £280,000 to Tyseley Locomotive Works for the overhaul of its LMS ‘Princess’, the cashstrapped 6201 Princess Elizabeth Society needs to find another £100,000 to complete additional repairs that it could not afford to tackle in 2016. ‘Lizzie’ resumed main line charter work in August last year after a 3½-year overhaul at the Birmingham factory, but ran only 12 trips before it was withdrawn again, following the discovery of weeping boiler tubes during a routine washout on November 26. The same boiler inspectors who re-certified No. 6201’s boiler after its Tyseley overhaul have now ruled that the locomotive’s boiler, which remained in situ throughout the overhaul, must now be lifted from the frames. Newly appointed Princess Elizabeth Chief Engineer Simon Scott has drawn up a list of 25 ‘essential repairs’ that must be carried out before the Royal Train engine can run again on Network Rail metals. The list includes: repairs to cracks on all four firebox corners; firebox tubeplate and foundation ring rivet replacement; renewal of outside steam pipe ‘elbows’; a new smokebox door inner; the replacement of a ‘wasted’ section of the boiler barrel extension; re-boring of all four valve chests; new valve heads; two new piston heads; the complete replacement of all 123 small smoketubes; and new tender tyres. Mr Scott has also flagged up as a ‘possibility’ the need to replace existing superheater flue tubes. PELS Chairman Clive Mojonnier admits that principal members of the 6201 society are “far from happy” that so much additional work, requiring a full boiler lift, is deemed necessary, so soon after the society paid Tyseley Locomotive Works £280,000 for the work undertaken on the ‘Princess’ between 2012 and 2016 - but he has elected not to challenge the thoroughness of the Tyseley overhaul, or the bill. “We don’t want to get into the kind of situation that the 6024 Preservation Society was in a few years ago, when they ended up in the High Court and ultimately had to relinquish their engine, King Edward I, to pay the costs of the action. We’ve got to draw a line and move on. But we have signed an agreement with the Princess Royal Class Locomotive Trust at Butterley, and their West Shed will be ‘Lizzie’s’ new home from now on. We’re never going back to Tyseley.” Asked to comment on Mr Mojonnier’s statement, Vintage Trains’ Chairman Michael Whitehouse said: “When 6201 came to Tyseley it very soon became apparent that the society had very little money and even fewer working members, and would only be able to fund absolutely essential work. So, we were unable to undertake a full boiler and mechanical overhaul and, instead, undertook such engineering work as could be agreed within their budget. Even that took some four years as we had to nurse the project along to a cash flow they could afford.” He continued: “The small tubes (20 of which were renewed to allow internal access), were otherwise left in place, as they were only three years old at that time, and it was agreed with the boiler insurance examiner
that they were fit for a further period of use before they would need to be replaced. “At the time of the boiler’s commissioning steam test, in October 2014, we advised them that the remaining small tubes would need to be replaced within two years as funds came in. This enabled the 6201 society to husband its much-needed funds as it also had to replace the Train Protection & Warning System, which was totally inadequate, especially in the aftermath of the Wootton Bassett incident. “Additional work was always going to be needed as revenue from locomotive hire came in, and Clive was made perfectly aware of this requirement. We wish him luck in raising the funds.” The society now has to find another £100,000 to pay for the ‘new’ round of repairs. It’s money that the group simply doesn’t have - but it is taking on the challenge of fundraising in a positive, proactive way, because, says Clive Mojonnier: “We don’t have any other choice.” An ‘emergency’ crowdfunding bid to raise £40,000 through the ‘Just Giving’ online donations website was set up by 6201 society member and railway photographer Jack Boskett in early February to underpin the cost of lifting the boiler and buying a full set of smoketubes. One week in, a modest £750 had been contributed, mainly by enthusiasts already aware of ‘Lizzie’s’ precarious financial situation - but Clive Mojonnier hopes many more will dig deep into their pockets to aid the LMS ‘Pacific’ in its hour of need. “The problem is we are up against hundreds of other crowdfunding appeals everyone is looking for money - and some of these appeals are really heart-wrenching, human emotion stories, where people need money for cancer treatment and things like that. To most of the public, ‘Lizzie’ is probably just a big lump of metal, and not a special case. But we’re imploring those who appreciate LMS ‘Pacifics’ and who understand the urgency of our situation to chip in now. We really are saying to people: ‘Buddy, can you spare a dime?’.” The 6201 society has had a slightly more encouraging response to an appeal to its own members to ‘buy a boiler tube’, at a cost of £105. The appeal was announced in the PELS newsletter published in early February. After ten days, the appeal had raised £2,000. The group is also unveiling another fundraiser which it is calling ‘A day with a Princess’. For a £5,000 donation, participants will get a day (six hours) on the footplate with Chief Engineer Simon Scott, two nights’ stay at a local hotel, two years’ membership to the society, a pair of 6201 overalls and safety boots, and a range of souvenirs. Additionally, the society is making a claim under its insurance policy for loss of earnings amounting to more than £50,000, after it was forced by mechanical failure to cancel a proposed trip to Scarborough for the PRCLT. Forecasts Clive Mojonnier: “With a following wind, if we get the support that we believe exists for ‘Lizzie’, there’s a chance we could be back up and running again on the main line before the end of the summer. We’re digging deep, and we’re imploring others to do the same.” ❚❚For more information on the emergency appeal, see www.justgiving.com/ crowdfunding/6201PL
‘lizzie’s’ penultimate railtour before it failed:➧no. 6201 passes Barrow-upon-trent on➧november 5 with the➧railway➧touring Company’s ‘Cheshireman’.