A GROUP of railway enthusiasts backed by pop star Rod Stewart are asking News & Mail readers for their help in finding a way to transport a steam locomotive’s huge coal tender to Yorkshire.

The 28-ton tender is at the Mizens Miniature Railway site in Knaphill, but will have to make the 200-mile journey north by road.

It comes from a former British Rail B17 locomotive scrapped during the 1960s when diesel trains replaced steam, and is now part of a £3.4million scheme to build a new steam engine to  one day haul special excursion trains around Britain.

Behind the ambitious initiative is the B17 Steam Locomotive Trust, a registered charity, whose patron is train-loving singer Sir Rod.

“If any of your readers can help with the project and get us back on track then we would be delighted to hear from them,” said Brian Hall, the trust’s chairman.

 “We need to get the tender to the Sheffield factory where we are slowly creating our loco.

 “It is a massive project to build one of a class of express engines that were once the pride and joy of the former LNER, the London and North Eastern Railway.”

The tender was originally part of a project, granted space at Mizens, to rebuild another B17 locomotive called Manchester United.

However, as that project was wound down, the group behind it agreed to donate the tender to the B17 trust, which has been given charitable status.

 Brian added: “We are extremely grateful for that, but getting the tender from Woking to Sheffield is proving a bit of a headache.”

The locomotive is provisionally called Spirit of Sandringham because Sandringham was the name of the first of 73 B17s built between 1928 and 1937.

Many of those locomotives were named after football clubs. As well as Manchester United, they included Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United, Leicester City, Liverpool and Norwich City.

 Anybody who can help or would like more information should visit the website b17steamloco.co.uk   or email Brian Hall at [email protected].