Could steam locomotive 7027 Thornbury Castle finally go back to steam?

Just days after a new owner was announced for 7027 Thornbury Castle, a twist in history could be on the cards thanks to previous owner Jonathan Jones Pratt.

On Friday, RailAdvent announced that 7027 Thornbury Castle, currently privately owned and being restored to Great Central Railway, had been sold to the 4709 Group for use on The Night Owl project.

Prior to restoration at the GCR in the custody of the private owner, West Somerset Railway Chairman Jonathan Jones Pratt owned the locomotive, but sold it after finding a buyer who pledged to do good for the locomotive, and the team at the GCR had the skills to put it back into service.

Jonathan said the current result of the locomotives was never part of the deal he had in place and contacted Great Central Railway to talk to the new owners, with only one result: buying the locomotive.

RailAdvent spoke to Jonthan this evening (Saturday 13th August 2022) and he confirmed that he would like to purchase the entire locomotive and spares.

He also confirmed this evening that 7027 Thornbury Castle will be kept at the Great Central Railway, where restoration can continue.

He plans to buy the locomotive and then start a band.

Here is Jonathan’s statement in full:

“As many within the steam movement are digesting the recent engine news with great shock, we must now, in my view, try to take some form of action to try to rewind the fate of Thornbury Castle.

I sold the engine as the circumstances at the time suggested it was the right thing to do, we were lucky to find a buyer who was committed to doing well for the locomotive and it was obvious that the GCR team clearly had the skills to recover it in traffic.

The latter is proven by the good understanding of the group with the locomotive and the excellent progress made. For me, it was in good hands and a good move.
We then learned about two weeks ago that she was for sale, I contacted the GCR to ask if this was true as I was shocked/disappointed.

Confirmation was given that 7027 was for sale and I then asked for an introduction to the current owners, yesterday we heard the sad news that she was now to become a donor loco.

I have to be very clear with all of you, this was never part of the deal and I was very specific only when she was sold with good faith terms to protect her future.

This evening I contacted the GCR to ask for a presentation to the owners, for a solution, in the hope of securing the purchase and stopping this nonsense.

My hope will be that if it can be done, we build a group to move motor ownership forward as well as protect those currently involved who stay involved and get 7027 rolling again!! I can’t sit and watch this happen.

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