101-year-old Peter needs your help getting back on track

Amberley Museum is appealing for help in getting its 101-year-old narrow-gauge steam engine Peter back on track.

Peter has been taking visitors on trips around the museum for 27 years, and has been a popular attraction for young and old alike, pulling the Santa Express at Christmas, as well as running at many major events.

101-year-old narrow-gauge steam engine Peter at Amberley Museum

101-year-old narrow-gauge steam engine Peter at Amberley Museum

An appeal for donations to help pay for repairs and a service for the steam engine has now raised just over £20,000, but the total costs are expected to exceed £40,000.

In a huge boost to the fundraising, an anonymous benefactor has offered to match, pound for pound, any money up to £5,000 that is raised until March 22.

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If successful, the museum has the potential to raise more than £12,000 with Gift Aid, so is hoping that as many people as possible contribute so that Peter can delight visitors once again.

Peter has been taking visitors on trips around Amberley Museum for 27 years. Picture: Pete Edgeler

Peter has been taking visitors on trips around Amberley Museum for 27 years. Picture: Pete Edgeler

As well as many private donations, major contributions have been received from Accucraft, which donated one of its 7/8”/ft scale Bagnall saddle tank models for the museum to sell by sealed bid auction, as well as Cliffe Hill Quarry, where Peter once worked, and the Narrow Gauge Society.

The money raised so far has enabled work to start on Peter’s boiler repairs.

The boiler barrel that had been condemned has been removed with the new barrel ready to be installed.

Work has also been carried out on the firebox and once new boiler tubes have been fitted, the regulator valve will be repaired and all the internal pipework refitted.

In the meantime the rest of the engine has been stripped for assessment.

Peter was built by WG Bagnall of Stafford and originally commissioned by the war office for the Canadian Forestry Corps in Longtown, Cumbria.

After several owners he was purchased by the Cliffe Hill Granite Company in Leicestershire in 1922, where he worked until 1949.

It is believed that it was during this time that Peter was named after the owner’s son.

In 1954 Peter was acquired by the Narrow Gauge Railway Society and eventually joined the Brockham collection in 1965.

Peter was moved to Amberley in 1982 when the two collections were amalgamated.

After a lengthy restoration project led by Doug Bentley and members of the Amberley Rail Group, Peter became operational at the museum in 1994 and has been a mainstay of our steam railway operation ever since, along with Polar Bear, another product of the Staffordshire company.

To donate to the Amberley Museum fundraising campaign for visit the JustGiving page.