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6023 King Edward II train to be launched at Didcot
6023 will be in early British Railways blue livery as seen in this classic jigsaw

A project to restore a 1920s steam locomotive is nearing completion.

Didcot Railway Centre has announced 6023 King Edward II will launch on Saturday 2 April 2011.

6023 will then run on Sunday 3 April, as well as the Easter and Mayday bank holidays.

Richard Croucher, Chairman of the Great Western Society said, "This is the culmination of more than 20 years work at Didcot, which has been our most ambitious restoration project yet.

"It is a tremendous achievement by a group of volunteers and our supporters who have raised over £700,000 and put in more than 40,000 hours work.

"It was probably the biggest 'no hoper' at Barry [Scrapyard]and 6023 has subsequently inspired other projects such as the Saint and the County.

Work on 6023ís firehole doors on 30 October 2010. Photo by Frank Dumbleton
It has taken more than 20 years to restore 6023 King Edward II

"We hope that all railway enthusiasts will appreciate seeing a single-chimney King in action again, for the first time in more than 50 years."

King Edward II was withdrawn in the early 1960s as diesel locomotives began to replace their steam-powered predecessors.

The locomotive, now in early British Railways blue livery, will be on display at Didcot Railway Centre until early June.

Then it will head to the heritage Mid-Norfolk Railway for further testing and mileage accumulation.

6023 King Edward II will be available during the main Summer season at Didcot from mid July.

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