Steam locomotive 80097 returned to service

At the end of May this year, BR Standard Class 4 2-6-4 tank engine No. 80097, which had only completed a 34-year restoration in 2018, suffered a small cracked boiler tube which damaged it. taken out of service until replaced.

After completing its restoration, the locomotive underwent trials and was returned to service on 1 March 2019 at Bury on the East Lancashire Railway. The restoration included the installation of the boiler, which had been rebuilt with 75% new components and cost the Group £120,000.

Due to Covid restrictions the locomotive was unable to operate from early 2020 to May 2021.

Unfortunately, this was the second tube to fail since the rebuild of the boiler. It was therefore necessary to call in a boiler inspector who estimated that the 157 small tubes had to be replaced.

The BS4G workshop team quickly sprang into action. They removed the running boards, main steam lines and superheater elements. They demolished the firebox’s brick arch to gain access to the failed tubes, which could then be removed. New tubing was sourced and fitted and machined into place, and a new brick arch was constructed.

After carrying out hydraulic and steam tests, the boiler inspector approved the work and gave permission to complete the construction and replace the steam lines and other parts. A final steam inspection was then carried out and 80097 resumed traffic on Friday August 5, just over two months after its breakdown.

Credit: Bury Standard Group 4

It was a fantastic effort from the volunteer Bury Standard 4 Group workshop team, and they acknowledge the help given to them by a qualified colleague and the East Lancashire Railway locomotive crew.

This exercise was completely unexpected, as all steam tubes were expected to last at least five years. This was a severe blow to the band’s finances as each of the 157 hits cost £50, plus the cost of the professional expertise that had to be brought in.

Credit: Bury Standard Group 4

The group has set up a “Sponsor a Tube” call which has already had a magnificent echo with 82 of the 157 tubes already paid for. If anyone would like to ‘sponsor a hit’, donations can be made through the band’s website at

Jose P. Rogers