A steam locomotive called Robert is receiving a London 2012 paint job after 78 years of pigeons, rain and wind left him feeling under the weather.
Robert the Engine, built in 1933, is being given a makeover before resuming his place outside the main transport hub for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by the end of the year.
The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) offered owners Newham Council the chance for their local landmark to be repainted in early 2008 so that work could take place on remodelling Meridian Square and building a new entrance to Stratford Regional Station.
The station, which first opened in the 1830s, is benefitting from more than £200 million investment. Plans to treble capacity by 2012 are being achieved as lines are improved – allowing longer and faster trains – while new platforms are built and the station is reconfigured to maximise the increased numbers using it.
Robert is now undergoing a new crimson coat at the East Anglia Railway Museum in Colchester, Essex. He will be returned to Stratford once work is complete on Meridian Square.
The 38-tonne saddle tank locomotive was built by the Avonside Engine Company of Bristol to work the Lamport Ironstone mines railway near Brixworth, Northamptonshire.
Hugh Sumner, ODA Director of Transport, said:
“Stratford Regional Station is being transformed into a facility which can serve London before, during and after the Games. The ODA has invested over £125 million in the station to treble capacity and upgrade infrastructure.
“Robert has been a feature outside Stratford station for more than a decade. We hope that by renovating him, visitors and residents alike can enjoy this historic engine for years to come.”
Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales said:
“Newham is an important national rail hub and we hope to see direct high-speed rail services to mainland Europe from Stratford very soon. Robert is a link to the age of steam and a reminder of the part Newham has played in transport and industry past and present.
“We welcome the Olympic Delivery Authority’s offer to repaint him so that residents and visitors to will be able to continue enjoying him.”