Well yeah, but restoration is all about painting it, isn't it?
If only. While finishing the loco in a suitable colour scheme is one thing, ensuring that it is in good mechanical condition, and has the additional equipment necessary to operate on today's heritage railways is another. What is the point of having a pristine paint job if the wheels are badly worn and the engine burns as much lube oil as fuel? If we are guilty of anything, it is being more interested in the locomotives working correctly and reliably than what standard of paint finish they have, but hopefully that will improve once our own facilities enable a step-change in the standard of work we can produce.
Andrew has two "categories" of loco in the collection. Those that have historic signficance will be kept as much as reasonably possible in original condition. Those that are 'less historic' may well be altered in ways to suit them best for the work they may be called on to perform in the future. To those who say "but that's not original" we would argue that if a loco is to earn its keep then it must meet the safety and operating requirements of the railway where it is now housed. If that means fitting vacuum braking, deadmans systems or the like then so be it. Whereas we may make the minimum of external changes to the loco, we consider it perfectly acceptable to make internal changes where modern equipment, methods or sheer obsolescence makes them neccessary. 14 901 is a case in point - it had already been fitted with a Rolls-Royce engine prior to Andrew's acquisition - reversing it back to a Paxman served no purpose. Our new control system, PLC based (programmable logic controller) was our reaction to a loco with no existing electric control system where much needed to be engineered. The BMAC lights were a bit of an indulgence, but whilst we hear complaints about the "non-authentic" livery and number, these have escaped criticism, so far.