A happy start to the year for No. 5551 as project’s fund‑raising reaches an all‑time high.
‘Patriot’ spending passes £2m mark
Patriot’ No. 5551 The Unknown Warrior is now a £2 million locomotive, with total expenditure on the engine and tender standing at £2.1m.
The milestone follows the LMS‑Patriot Project’s most successful fund‑raising year yet, with a record figure of £500,000 achieved in the financial year ending March 31 2018.
The first quarter of its current financial year (ending June 30 2018) was also a record one, with a total income of £100,700, compared to £97,600 in the first quarter of the 2017‑18 financial year.
The project has now raised an overall total of £2.8m towards the construction of the Fowler ‘5XP’ 4‑6‑0, and currently has approximately £250,000 in the bank.
Chairman David Bradshaw said: “This doesn’t mean we’ve all got holiday homes! That money is all committed to orders and will be spent at a rate of knots over the coming months as we pay for the construction of the boiler and tender.
“The income stream is very good, but it needs to continue at that rate for some considerable time to come.”
Following its trial‑fitting in the frames for the locomotive’s Remembrance Day weekend dedication at Crewe Heritage Centre (SR487), the boiler has returned to Heritage Boiler Steam Services for internal construction to continue, while the tender frames moved on November 28 from Llangollen to contractors Leaky Finders for completion.
The £40,000 ‘Put a Tenner in the Tank’ appeal for the fabrication of the tender tank is over halfway to its target, with £26,000 raised.
The project has abandoned its fund‑raising stream of loans towards the boiler construction costs because, says Mr Bradshaw: “It achieved its objective of covering the boiler cost at a time when we had significant pressures on our cash flow. A combination of increasing income and delays in the completion of the boiler following the decision by LNWR Heritage to cancel the contract has allowed income to catch up with expenditure, hence our decision to cease taking on loans.
“Boiler loans, of course, have to be financed with interest payments (starting in 2020), though with capital repayments not due to start until 2028, it is manageable.
“Incidentally, one individual has turned his £50,000 loan (along with the £5,000 interest) into a donation
and it is hoped that this may recur.”