RAILWAY enthusiasts are powering up for a new era after their first loco had its topping out ceremony.
Members of the Poulton and Wyre Railway Society marked a major milestone in their campaign to get their trains running on a disused track between Fleetwood and Poulton.
They topped out the 1953 John Fowler locomotive which they have spent the last two-and-a-half years refurbishing.
Project engineer Glenn Spindley said the train, an 040 diesel-powered shunter will be used for maintenance and rescue work on the line.
He said: “It’s a bit like our version of the AA van.
“We will use it for shunting and if there are any break-downs it will be sent out to rescue them.”
The society is currently in negotiations with Network Rail to get use of the five mile long tracks between Fleetwood and Poulton and hope to be up and running in the next three years or so.
Parts of the rail bed north of Wyre Dock have been built on so it remains unlikely the line will be restored to its full length.
However, the group hopes to reopen the mothballed tracks from the Jameson Road Bridge to Poulton, with plans in the future to relaunch the filled in bridge and reopen the Poulton Curve.
A large group of rail enthusiasts gathered at the MPL industrial site at Thornton for the ceremony which marked the end of the major renovation work on the light blue loco.
Glenn added: “It was built in Leyland and we are restoring it in the original Leyland colours.
“It will be one of the best of its kind in the country by the time we have finished.
“We have stripped it down and rebuilt it. We have had the engine running.”
The society acquired the diesel loco in May 2010 for nothing after a trains group advertised it free if someone would take it away.
Glen added: “No scrap merchant wanted it so we collected it.”
He added that the society also has a Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway coach from the 1860s which they are in the processes of restoring.