What do you get the man who has everything?
Farmer Richard Bamford was on the right track when he bought a £10,000 locomotive for his dad’s 60th birthday.
The arrival of the nine foot wide, 23ft long and 13ft tall blue locomotive down a narrow country lane to Model Farm in East Bierley, Bradford, yesterday was not easy to keep top secret but 34-year-old Richard managed to pull it off.
And as for his dad Allan, the unusual delivery left him speechless – well, almost.
“It could have gone either way. He could have fallen flat on his back and I’d have had to call 999 or he’d have called me every expletive under the sun and walked off,” said Richard who looks after 140 cattle and runs a butcher’s business.
A stunned Allan, who runs a bed & breakfast at Model Farm with his Polish girlfriend, shook his head in stunned silence as the loco slowly manoeuvred into his sight – causing a tailback of traffic along Toftshaw Lane.
Once he had recovered his speech, he said: “That’ll be something else to do up then. I suppose I’ll have to build a track for it too!”
Now the Bagnall fireless loco will sit alongside the other cars that Allan has restored over the years and will have to take its turn for restoration behind the 1940s tractor which is ‘work in progress’.
Richard, who found the locomotive by searching the internet, said: “Dad’s always had a soft spot for steam trains so I thought I’d surprise him fore his birthday – it makes a change from socks!”
Only six Bagnall fireless locomotives have been preserved in Great Britain – the Stafford-based company only built 14 of them.
Allan’s loco was commissioned by biscuit makers Huntley & Palmers of Reading in 1932 to run on its factory’s railway system.
When the railway shut in 1969, the locomotive was sold the following year to the Great Western Society and moved to Didcot Railway Centre.
It was later sold again to a private owner and was moved to the West Somerset Railway but in 2003 Jane Griffiths, who was an MP for Reading East, discovered the locomotive and mounted a campaign to return it to its origins in Reading.
But the locomotive was re-located to Cholsey and Wallingford Railway and then to Kent before being transported north this week to Allan’s backyard.
See Allan’s reaction to his birthday surprise, by logging on to T&A TV at telegraphandargus.co.uk.