by Gordon Thomson, Evening Times
She's the grand old lady of steam from Glasgow who is being
given a major makeover in time for her final journey to the city's
new transport museum.
Six young admirers are helping restore the Mountain Class
locomotive after she was found abandoned after lying forgotten for
almost 20 years in a South African railway siding.
The First ScotRail apprentices are helping conservationists
restore the engine which will showcase the city's engineering
skills and the golden age of steam.
The makeover is being carried out in a huge workshop at the
Glasgow Museums Resource Centre in Nitshill. The apprentices are on
secondment as part of a sponsorship package by FirstGroup which
brought the engine back to Glasgow.
ScotRail managing director Steve Montgomery said: "Our
apprentices are delighted to be conserving part of Scotland's proud
"The locomotive's return to Glasgow will give new generations
the chance to marvel at this wonderful example of the rail
revolution Scotland gave to the world."
He added: "Glasgow's transport collections are of international
importance and it is fitting that the locomotive will be at the
heart of the new museum."
Bailie Liz Cameron, who chairs Culture and Sport Glasgow, said:
"The conserved locomotive will be one of the most talked about
exhibits at the Riverside Museum when it opens in 2011.
"The collaboration between FirstGroup, Eura and Glasgow Museums
will provide the apprentices with a unique opportunity to work on
an exhibit that continues to tell the story of Glasgow's rich
industrial heritage and which will be enjoyed by visitors to the
museum for decades to come."
Eura Conservation is proud to have been commissioned to
undertake the conservation of "one of the largest objects ever
acquired by Glasgow Museums."
Project director Richard Baister said: "The whole team is
looking forward to delivering the museum's vision for the
locomotive." Conservator Cabe Rice added: "It will be a privilege
to work on such a high-profile conservation project."
Given a number instead of a name, Locomotive 3007 will take
pride of place at the Riverside Museum which is due to open on the
banks of the Clyde in two years time.
Clydebuilt with passion and pride as Second World War was
ending, this giant of a steam engine was produced by the North
British Locomotive Company at Polmadie in Glasgow.
She rolled off the production line in April, 1945, to be
immediately shipped off to South Africa, one of a batch of 60 loco
giants created to cope with the country's tough terrain and the
long distances between stops.
They were metallic workhorses and over the years more than 200
were sent from the city to South Africa.
Loco 3007 was part of the so called Mountain Class and she's a
big, big lady. Weighing in at 197 tonnes - that's the equivalent of
50 elephants or 26 double decker buses - she's 74ft long and nearly
But she had to be a beast of a loco because she was jam packed
with 14 tonnes of coal and 6050 gallons of water, the equivalent of
48,400 pints of beer, and took on the dual role of passenger and
Locomotive 3007 regularly pulled the famous Blue Train between
Johannesburg and Cape Town before being taken out of passenger
service and spending much of the 80s doing shunting work in
Bloemfontein, the provincial capital of Free State.
But the steam engine from Glasgow was derailed in an accident in
1988 and was left sitting idle for almost 20 years destined for the
scrap yard until saved by train preservationists.
The grand old lady of steam, which had seen better days, then
made the 6000-mile journey home calling at George Square two years
ago to help actor Robbie Coltrane launch a public appeal to raise
£5million towards the £74m bill for the new Zaha Hadid-designed
Robbie who was dwarfed as he stood on front of Loco 3007 said:
"I remember as a boy things like this trundling through
"It was pretty damn exciting. The new Transport Museum by the
Clyde will also be exciting and people will come to Glasgow to see
Reproduced with the permission of The Herald and Times