The final days of 44422's overhaul or (rebuild) meant frantic 7 day working for the (very) small band of volunteers struggling to meet the completion deadline of Wednesday 26th January. It was necessary to move the engine on that day in order to have it available for the East Lancashire Railway's steam gala on 29th & 30th January 2005.

The locomotive fund has gone deeply into debt to facilitate the rebuild, the only way the engine was ever going to be in service this decade. To finance the debt, 44422 has to be hired out to other railways and will spend the rest of 2005 at Bury.

The pedigree.

The tender was looking the worse for wear after spending many years outside. It had been intended to repaint it but a small patch by the front steps was worked upon with various chemicals and polishes and the result can clearly be seen. Three people spent the best part of two days rubbing and polishing the body sides by hand - not easy believe me! By now the cab side numbers had been applied together with the infamous yellow stripe. This was applied to certain classes of engine in the 1960's to denote that the class was banned South of Crewe because of limited clearance under the, then, newly erected overhead wires. In addition to the 4F's, Coronation Pacific, Royal Scot and Jubilee classes were also blessed with the stripe. Memory tells me that Britannias and Black 5's escaped but I am unsure about Princess Royals? 18/1/2005

By now the engine was beginning to look ready to go but, in fact, there was still much to do as the paint cans on the running board indicate. 18/1/2005

The moment of truth and 44422 moved under its own power for the first time in over six years. It was on the 10th December that the boiler passed its steam test and it was only on 22nd December 2004 that the boiler was placed back in the frames. This is a truly remarkable achievement by the men of the LNWR workshops at Crewe. As Steve Latham and Chris Jefferies slowly move 44422 back from the workshop, Bill and Roger check that the cylinder cocks are working correctly - no priming required at this stage! 20/1/2005

A slight problem with the injector necessitated some further work being carried out so the engine was parked over the pit to allow all round access and final painting of the tender top, buffer beams, steps and buffers to be completed. 20/1/2005

With only the tender frames to be tidied up it was time to run the engine as much as possible in order to reveal any minor problems. 44422 posed in the Winter sunshine during a break in the running. 21/1/2005

Tanking up! It was Sunday and more running in, it was amazing how many main line locomotives passing the site chose to hoot - this was, of course, met with a whistle, all good fun in the bitter cold. 23/1/2005

44422 showing its paces on slippery rails. 23/1/2005

Monday and Mr.Waterman came in to officially hand the locomotive back after completion. Together with Steve Latham, I presented him with a framed picture of 44422 as a token of thanks from The 44422 Locomotive Fund for his more than generous assistance with the overhaul. The 5A shedplate is a temporary stand-in for 5D which will be fitted shortly. 24/1/2005

Wednesday and time to go as the locomotive is winched aboard the Allely's trailer en route for Bury. 26/1/2005

The engine was left to rest in the company of the APT while the tender was loaded onto a second trailer. 26/1/2005

Engine and tender disturb the flow of Crewe's traffic and cause heads to turn as they set off for the M6. 26/1/2005