Rail enthusiast auctions art for Severn Valley Railway
A train enthusiast is showing off his artistic side to raise money for a new steam engine on the Severn Valley Railway.
Gordon Barnes, aged 74, from Wednesfield, Wolverhampton, has produced an oil painting to be raffled off to fund the ongoing project.
He said: "This will be a great attraction when finished, as a completely new steam engine made specifically for the Severn Valley Railway.
"The work is being done with the aid of people who do so much work for nothing.
"If people could contribute just £1 each it would make such a difference."
The painting, showing the railway sheds at Bridgnorth, took two years to complete.
It will be offered as a prize in a raffle to be organised by the 82045 Steam Locomotive Trust.
A love of trains of runs in the family for Mr Barnes.
As a child he used to open and close the gates for his uncle who was a station master.
His involvement with the Severn Valley Railway began in 1976.
He explained the basis of his bond with trains was, saying: "Earth, wind, fire and water – that quantifies what a steam engine is built from and so are we. There is an affinity."
Mr Barnes, who used to run the Wednesfield Social Club with his wife, believes there is a light at the end of the tunnel for steam trains.
He said: "There is more interest, which is very heartening.
"You saw the huge crowds for the Flying Scotsman last year, people care now more than when I was little."
The money raised by the painting will go towards the estimated £70,000 that is still needed to finish the construction of a new tank class steam engine.
When completed it will be only the second new steam engine built in the UK this century.
Work began on the engine eight years ago and the project is likely to be finished by 2019.
For further information about the project visit www.82045.org.uk
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