55021 Argyle and Southerland Highlander
If you were into railways in the 1970s and 80s you would love Deltics. For us living in Wales along the South Wales main line, seeing a Deltic was the ultimate in train spotting terms and the only way to see one was to travel. This was always difficult when you were 14 years old. In 1976 I travelled on an old clapped out bus with the South Wales Railway Society on a Humberside trip. This was my first solo adventure, well without Mum or Dad. On the itinerary was a visit to Doncaster Works, which unfortunately didn’t happen due to permit issues. The lads on the bus where great me and my mate Ben Davies where the youngest and had never seen a Deltic in the flesh and I needed to badly! So they took us to the works boundary and lifted us up onto the wall to look into the front of the works and there she was 55009 Alycidon the finest site I have ever seen and an image that inspired me. 55009 Alycidon my first, 55003 Meld my favourite and 55014 The Duke of Wellingtons Regiment my last and most elusive 55021, I only saw her once in service.
During the withdrawal stage of the Deltics in 1984 I lived in Canada on my return things in BR terms were changing for ever. I couldn’t believe the Deltics, 25, 40, 46, were almost gone. Luckily a good number of Deltics reached preservation and 2 cabs, 55008 and 55021 had been saved. 55008 always seemed to be around at the Midland Railway Centre but 55021 was less known being in private ownership for so many years. It wasn’t until it was donated to the DPS that it really came to the public attention.
After being cut in September 1982 55021 has had a number of owners. First purchased by Kevin Cox who made the purchase from BR and carried her out of Doncaster Works on a low loader.. Then John Kappler purchased her in 1988 and Steve Scott, who donated it to the DPS in 2006 and finally purchased by me with my Group. 55021 has always been owned by train spotters, who remember the Deltics in their heydays of the 1970s.
55021 now reside in South Wales and is undergoing a renovation program which will involve a great deal of structural work to the lower body area where extensive corrosion has set in. The cab floor need replacing as the support structures have rotted. The first stage is to secure the body work on and around the roof and window areas. Luckily there has been very little water penetration into the cab area, many due to the window frame having putty applied some years ago. It didn’t look very good but it really did work. Most of the corrosion is at the lower level where water has got into the body panelling rusting the inner frames this in turn has expanded through the out panelling creating many holes in the body work. A number of areas have rotted away completely. All of this will have to be replaced and the level of corrosion won’t be realised until the outer panels are removed? .