THANKS for printing the picture of LMS diesel shunter No. 7069, which is an early precursor of the Class 08 fleet (Express Mailbag, February issue), as I have worked on the loco and can add some more details.
No. 7069 remained in use up to 1972 when it was withdrawn and then remained in a scrapyard in Persan near Paris until repatriated to the Swanage Railway. The livery was a sort of a very dark green with MStC 1 on each side. Myself and another volunteer painted the loco to represent its original colour (black), along with LMS branding and the number 7069.
In 1990, I was asked by one of the owners if I would like to volunteer to help restore No. 7069 and a WD Stanier 8F steam loco (which later became
No. 45160) on a private site in Hamworthy, Dorset. After both locos were stripped and shotblasted, I started work on the diesel over a period of time.
No. 7069 was in very good condition, and the engine turned quite easily so only needed cleaning and painting. Two engine mounting bolts posed a problem as the heads had sheared off, so replacements were required.
The electrical cubical was totally original and therefore had to be replaced, modifying one from a Class 08 to fit.
One other feature was that, after the loco was shotblasted, evidence was soon apparent of where the loco had been fired at by enemy gunfire. It was decided these holes would not be filled in, but they would be left as a memory to the fallen of the Second World War.
In 1994, work took me away from both locos and I ended up losing contact with the lads. So it was nice to see the loco getting worked on and thanks to Lee Preston from Bristol for taking the picture.