The Big “Large Prairie” Appeal – Returning 5164 to service

The origins of Erlestoke Manor Fund

Formed in 1973, Erlestoke Manor Fund ( EMF ) was successful in the purchase of firstly ex-GWR Manor no 7812 Erlestoke Manor and later, its sister locomotive, 7802 Bradley Manor from Dai Woodham’s scrap yard in Barry, South Wales. Having been cast aside by British Railways as surplus and outmoded at the end of 1965, 7812 was rescued in 1974 and 7802 in 1979.

Once saved, EMF’s attention focussed on returning 7812 to working order, an aim which was achieved in 1979. Initially purchased solely for spare parts for 7812, EMF was encouraged to restore 7802 to working order, a practical and financial feat which was achieved in 1993. Since then both locomotives have proved their usefulness in regular heritage railway service.

The Latest Major Development

In 2021, EMF shareholders approved proposals to restore ex-GWR Large Prairie no 5164 to steam, after its acquisition from the 5164 Preservation Group.

By bringing 5164 into its pool of ‘active’ locomotives, EMF looks to support its long-term strategy of ensuring that it remains strong and vibrant through the coming decade and beyond.

With both EMF-owned Manors returning to traffic in the near future with fresh boiler certificates, restoring 5164 to service will provide an exciting and appropriate project for the coming years and, importantly, a locomotive that could be expected to be in traffic providing valuable steaming income during the mid- 2030s period when both 7812 and 7802 will fall due for overhaul in quick succession. Overhauling 5164 will further the development of skills and experience within the volunteer team, particularly for the younger volunteers. This project will be a major factor in maintaining our industrial heritage.

5164 is currently in store under cover in Barrow Hill Roundhouse, near Chesterfield.

Since 2014 5164 has been on static display in Barrow Hill Roundhouse. Photo: Amanda Hambridge

What Now?

In order to bring 5164 back to service on the Severn Valley Railway by the mid-2020s, now is the time to commence the funding of the project, which, at today’s prices, is expected to cost £ 400,000.

Existing EMF funds plus expected steaming fee income from Manors 7812 and 7802 together with a contribution from SVR (Holdings) will not be sufficient for the project and, therefore, EMF is seeking support through various fundraising channels to help finance the full project.

How Can You Support with a Donation?

There are four ways in which you can donate:-

  1. Via the Website – You can pay by debit/credit card or PayPal account. Please reference your donation “ your surname and initials 5164 Appeal ” so that we can record your donation to the Appeal. Your donation, whether one-off or by standing order, will be acknowledged. Please click on this link www.erlestokemanorfund.co.uk/want-to-help/donate
  2. Electronic Bank Transfer – please pay into account 53-81-21 account number 08716153 in the name of ErlestokeFD. Please reference your donation “your surname and initials 5164 Appeal” so that we can record your donation. Please confirm your donation, whether one-off or by standing order, by email to erlestokemanorfund@gmail.com so that we can acknowledge.
  3. Cheque – please make your cheque payable to “ Erlestoke Manor Fund “ and post to P Evans, EMF, c/o Iona, Chequers Lane, Wychbold, Droitwich Spa, Worcs WR9 7PH. Please include your email or telephone number, if possible, to help us acknowledge your donation.
  4. In person -if you visit the EMF Sales Coach at Bewdley Station on the Severn Valley Railway, you can donate by cash, cheque or card. The sales coach is open most Saturdays and Sundays.

Gift Aid -As a registered charity, EMF can claim Gift Aid. So, if you are eligible for Gift Aid, the value of any donation can be increased at no extra cost to you. If you are not yet registered for Gift Aid with EMF and wish to do so, please click on this link.

In Return

Perfectly suited for the SVR, 5164 is seen departing Bridgnorth during its last period in traffic. Photograph: Jason Houlders

It is proposed to run a special charter train on the Severn Valley Railway from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth return behind 5164. In return for a donation of at least £125, EMF will provide a travel ticket for the event and for a donation in excess of £250 two tickets. Please ensure that we have your contact details to enable us to register you for your tickets.

Every donation over £50 will be recognised, upon completion of the Appeal, in a form to be determined.

Every donation, regardless of size, will be very much appreciated.

EMF Shareholding

100% of your donation will go to the 5164 Appeal.

If you are a current shareholder, the amount you donate will be added to your shareholding.

If you are not already a shareholder, any donation of £50 or more, whether made singly or in multiple smaller sums, entitles you to become a shareholder, which gives you voting rights, the opportunity to volunteer with EMF and newsletters on EMF matters.

If you wish to become a shareholder, please click here.

Thank you for reading this and please support this worthwhile project in whatever way and to whatever extent you can.