Ahead of the first anniversary next month of the passing of ‘The Force’s Sweetheart’, the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR) has announced the start of the tender overhaul of locomotive No. 3672 ‘Dame Vera Lynn’.

An appeal to raise the estimated £600,000 needed to fully restore the special locomotive and get it back into traffic, currently stands at more than £175,000.

It is estimated another £450,000 is still required to fully fund this significant project. However, with the funds raised so far the NYMR has announced the start of the locomotive’s restoration, proceeding with the tender.

The locomotive is part of the NYMR’s Motive Power Department (MPD) overall plan; it is hoped work on ‘Dame Vera Lynn’ can be completed by 2024/2025, to tie in with the locomotive’s 80th birthday and the 80th anniversary of VE Day. The restoration of the tender will be undertaken by Riley & Son, in Rochdale, and involves the renewal of a whole new tender water tank, new springs, new axel box bearings and an overhaul of the brake gear.

Ian Foot, a member of the restoration team, said: “This is a monumental step in the locomotive’s restoration; the project is doable, and the determination, passion and drive is there to see it succeed. However, like any other steam locomotive, it requires money, and we urge anyone who’d like to see it back on the tracks by its 80th anniversary to donate to the appeal.”

Clifford Brown, who purchased ‘Dame Vera Lynn’ and ‘Repton’ in the late 1980s, put both locomotives in Trust to the NYMR when he began to suffer ill health. Whilst ‘Repton’ has enjoyed regular overhauls and spells in traffic, ‘Dame Vera’ has sadly remained out of action.

A £10 donation will help towards nuts and bolts or a £100 donation will go towards buying parts such as new fire bars.

For more information and to find out how you can help support the restoration of this iconic locomotive visit the appeal website: www.nymr.co.uk/DVL