Help Rushden schoolboy, 15, get cherished Daventry steam engine project back on track

Jordan has set up a fundraising page, though he's looking for anybody who wants to help in any way to come forward and get in touch.
Jordan has set up a fundraising page, though he's looking for anybody who wants to help in any way to come forward and get in touch.

A 15-year-old budding engineer wants to restore a forgotten steam locomotive once cherished by county residents.

Jordan Bailey, of Wymington, near Rushden, has been working towards resurrecting Cherwell, a Daventry landmark once used as a children’s climbing frame after its retirement.

Jordan Bailey with Cherwell at Rushden Station

Jordan Bailey with Cherwell at Rushden Station

After years of inactivity and broken promises of restoration, Jordan has committed to the task and is appealing to others who share his interest to help him out, and has also set up a fundraising page.

“I have been working on it for about four years, initially to make it an aesthetic display,” said Jordan.

“Now I’m attempting to get the funding to get it to working condition.”

But the Rushden Academy pupil isn’t just looking for funding, he’s asking for anyone willing to contribute to the project in any way to come forward.

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It could be to lend a hand with the painting, engineering work, or simply to help get the word out that the Cherwell could soon be back on tracks.

Jordan discovered the Cherwell while spending time with his grandfather Ron Kempfield at Rushden Station on weekends.

“I have always been interested in the railway and I used to visit my granddad at Rushden station,” said Jordan.

“I wanted to do was fix something that no-one had touched.”

So far the project has consisted of cosmetic work like painting, fitting windows and looking at the possible replacement of the steam engine’s door, and there is plenty of engineering tinkering to be done.

Once it is restored Jordan says he wants to see it reunited with three other engines from a similar period in a kind of re-enactment.

But in the first instance, he just wants to see Cherwell recreate its old route from Daventry to Rushden.

Wendy, Jordan’s mother, said: “I’m so proud of him.

“He’s doing something beneficial and trying to get as many children to get involved.

“He has loved trains since he was a baby and was going to see his granddad from a young age.

“It’s wonderful to see and amazing to see them working together.

“There seems to be a revival in the nostalgia of steam train travel.”

When active Cherwell was one of six engines of its kind and was used to transport ironstone from Charwelton to Byfield until production of ironstone in the district stopped in 1965.

It was popular with children in Daventry who used it as a climbing frame, but in 1999 it fell short of European safety regulations and Daventry District Council decided to put it into the care of the Rushden Historic Transport Society.

Former Weedon district councillor Dixie Hughes said in the wake of the council’s decision: “It is an extremely sad event that many people will regret. I strongly suspect that once Cherwell has gone the people of Daventry will never see it again.”