A North Norfolk Railway supporter has bought a key share in Standard ‘4MT’ No. 76084 – keeping the 2-6-0 at the railway for the foreseeable future.
The engine’s future was thrown into question in September when 31 percent stakeholder John Oldcorn advertised his shares for sale. Although not a majority controlling stake, the 247,532 shares are enough to exercise an influence on the management of 76084.
NNR Managing Director Hugh Harkett successfully led the negotiations for the deal on the unnamed supporter’s behalf and will be the representative on the board while the benefactor wishes to remain in the background. The shares were exchanged for an undisclosed sum.
“The engine stays here and we have lots of plans for it,” said Hugh Harkett. The first of those includes a re-tube with the aim of extending its mainline boiler certification from seven to ten years before embarking on a third consecutive summer season of dining trains over the Bittern Line between Sheringham and Cromer.
Mr Harkett added: “The other shareholders in the Standard 4 have received the news very well and while we’re not putting a block on it to stop it going elsewhere, it will be based here. Nevertheless, the loco will probably be visiting other railways and will likely be running on the main line and we will not want to stop that happening unless we have work for 76084.”
“The North Norfolk Railway has a long-term agreement with 76084, and that would have been the case anyway. The 76084 Company Ltd. will still pay for any work carried out on their engine."
The Riddles ‘Mogul’ has been based in Norfolk since moving there for the completion of its restoration from Barry scrapyard condition in 2013; initially on a steaming agreement that repaid the loans made by NNR for the restoration.
Eric Bond, publicity officer for 76084 Locomotive Company Ltd. said: “We were concerned that a heritage railway line could buy half the shares and left others out in the cold… but they [the NNR] look after the shareholders really well, so it’s a win-win all round.”
The NNR continues to use the Standard 4 as one of it's prestigious engines and will, of course, be delighted it is now available for the North Norfolkman Dining Trains between Holt, Sheringham and Cromer and for the forthcoming Santa Pullman Lunch trains this December.
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