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Full steam ahead!

Byline: Peter Collins peter.co ns@wme.co.uk

A MULTI-MILLION pound proposal to expand Barry Island's popular steam heritage centre could bring thousands more railway enthusiasts to Wales.

Talks are taking place privately between the Vale of Glamorgan Council, funding organisations and other heritage groups about the Barry Steam Railway Project to restore 10 dilapidated steam locomotives to their former glory. This could cost between pounds 300,000 and pounds 500,000 apiece.

The scheme centres on `The Barry 10' locomotives, which were salvaged from the former steam locomotive ``graveyard'' on Barry Dock and are currently stored at the EWS depot, close to Barry railway station. They originally saw service in various parts of the country.

It is estimated that it would cost between pounds 300,000 and pounds 500,000 to repair each one. This high cost probably means that only a few of the locomotives could be renovated. Councillors have ordered officers to hold talks with various groups and draw up a business plan for a repair scheme.

Renovated locomotives could be put on display at the popular Barry Island steam heritage centre, making it one of the top tourist attrac-tions of its kind in Wales. Some could also find a home at the Hood Road steam railway station on The Waterfront.

Currently, the Vale of Glamorgan Railway Company runs the renovated Sir Gomer locomotive between the steam heritage centre on Barry Island to the Hood Road station during the summer and on Bank Holidays.

It is not known if any of the renovated ``Barry 10'' locomotives would be put back into operation. A Vale of Glamorgan Council spokesman said: ``The steam heritage centre is very popular and the Barry Steam Railway Project is an exciting and worthwhile venture.

``Further investigation will continue.''

CAPTION(S):

GRAVEYARD When the death knell sounded for steam engines in the 1960s, Barry sidings became the last resting place for many old locomotives.; NEW LIFE Barry's Heritage Railway Centre has helped bring a host of engines back into use. Now more could follow thanks to a new project.
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Dec 6, 2002
Words:346
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