Although rarely found steaming up the valley, Bellerophon is still very much a Worth Valley locomotive. Owned by the Vintage Carriages Trust (VCT) since 1981, this venerable engine, built in 1874, is currently a working engine on the Foxfield Railway in Staffordshire. Restoration was extensive as the locomotive, as retired from NCB service, was in a thoroughly worn out condition. The engine returned to steam for the first time since 1964 in 1985 and has achieved something of a celebrity status.
However old ladies need a lot of care and attention and Bellerophon is no different. A routine inspection in 2012 revealed that the wheels were moving on the axles and a subsequent examination showed that the best form of repair would be to replace the old, worn axles with new. Subsequently in October the engine was moved to the South Devon Railway where it was taken into their workshops for preliminary work to begin on replacing the middle axle only, the only solution to rectify the problem. In addition it was decided to replace the life expired ashpan.
By the end of November the locomotive had been successfully repaired by South Devon Engineering at Buckfastleigh. The defective middle axle has been replaced and a number of other tasks undertaken, including the repair & replacement of the springs, plus work to the axleboxes. The locomotive was successfully tested at Buckfastleigh on 21st November and then moved by road back to the Foxfield Railway, where it was successfully steam tested on Sunday 24th November. The locomotive is now fully operational and available for use at Foxfield and also hire to other organisations during 2014.
The following images show Bellerophon arriving at Buckfastleigh, the wheels fitted on the new axle, the new ashpan ready for fitting and finally steaming out of the yard ready to return to its current home.