East Kent Light Railway welcomes former Eurostar Class 73 …
The locomotive travelled by road from Cynheidre, the headquarters of the Llanelli and Mynydd Mawr Railway (LMMR). Departing on Thursday 9 November, it arrived at EKLR's Shepherdswell, the next day.Credit: 73130 Ltd
The locomotive will stay in Kent until at least March 2025, giving the owners the opportunity to prepare it to haul regular heritage railway passenger trains on EKLR services during the 2024 operating season.
It will return to South Wales when the LMMR is ready to accept it, and until then will act as an ‘ambassador' for the line. EKLR will host some special packages for days out with the loco, and will publicise details once finalised.
The locomotive moved to the Llanelli and Mynydd Mawr Railway a year ago, travelling from its previous home of the Coulsdon Old Vehicle and Engineering Society at Bicester.
73 130 Ltd Director Graeme Gleaves explained: “The loco can function like a regular diesel electric loco away from the third rail and its on-board diesel engine is a perfect size for heritage railway operations. We are especially excited to eventually use it with the East Kent's unique Gatwick Express stock in push pull mode, this will be the only line in the country able to offer this experience.”
EKLR General Manager, Matthew Plews, said: ‘This is a fantastic opportunity for all involved to get this locomotive out to work. It's great to see it back on “home turf” where it can be enjoyed by our visitors. We look forward to working with 73130 Limited and supporting them in returning the locomotive to regular traffic.”