December 2000 saw the first steaming of the engine in over 20 years of sitting idle. It successfully propelled itself around Saunders yard and was moved so that restoration could commence. Matt, Dan & their father Graham began by stripping the engine down.
The boiler tubes were all removed and the boiler was found to be in good condition, as was the front tubeplate. Unfortunately, an inspection revealed that the firebox was not in a good condition, meaning a new one would have to be made.
Another part also requiring repair was the tender, as it had badly rotted through in some places. The headstock of the engine was badly cracked. Work continued with the removal of the motion for cleaning and they seemed to be in a good condition, as were the gears, which also appeared not to have seen too much hard work. The back rolls were then removed, along with the crankshaft and gear casing, making progress more noticeable.
Saturday 1st December 2001 saw the next big jump in progress for Aveling & Porter No. 8753. On Saturday 1st the roller was loaded to Mervyn Mayes Boiler Works at Yaxham in Norfolk, to have a new firebox fitted and for repairs to the tender.
Whilst the main bulk of the engine was away, progress was made on the restoration of those parts remaining, ready for the roller's arrival back. After years of grease and oil was cleaned off, most parts were found to be in a reasonable-to-good condition.
Sandblasting in early 2003 revealed that there was a crack in one of the rear rolls that would need welding up before further progress could be made. Further work is being carried out on the remaining parts.
May 2004 saw the first outing of the engine! The boiler and firebox assembly was shown at the Strumpshaw Steam Rally on its way home from Mervyn Mayes to Bedfordshire so that the re-assembly could begin. The roller appeared again in this form at the Society’s annual rally in September, along with the crankshaft.
Early 2005 and work was progressing well. The second shaft had been temporarily fitted back in the engine awaiting the new third shaft and rear axle, which were now completed. New drive pins had been made along with new rear bearings. The valve chest covers were away being chromed and new motion pins and valve rods were being made. The tender and headstock had been repaired and it was hoped to collect these soon. The lagging was all cut for the boiler, which had successfully passed its hydraulic test.
In March, Paul and Mark Worbey went with Matt Barklem to Norfolk to collect the tender, scarifier and headstock of the roller. The repairs had been carried out by Mervyn Mayes who replaced the firebox in 2004. He had also rolled a new riveted chimney for the roller. Since then, a new back axle has been fitted and other repair work carried out. By Easter the roller was back on its wheels and looking like an engine again. Much painting had taken place since with some parts being hand painted and others sprayed. The tender was lined out in black and orange and looked very smart indeed. The lagging for the boiler is all fitted to size and would need to come off for the first steaming, but remained in place at present for the boiler tins to be rolled and fitted.
September 2005 and they made their aim, Matt and Dan took “Silver Streak” to Old Warden, the engines first outing in public under its own steam for nearly 30 years. The roller ran well with very few troubles. In Early November the roller was roaded 15 miles to Harlton in Cambridgeshire for a Steam Up at the Hare & Hounds and a successful trip was made.
At the Society’s Annual Dinner & Dance Matt & Dan were presented the Reg Saunders Memorial Trophy for a Restoration Project, a well deserved award. This winter they hope to fit the boiler tins and build a new canopy for the engine in time for next season, we wish them well.