Train enthusiasts who bought an old blue steam engine from Mole Valley Council for £1 now have less than a month to raise enough money to move it.

Brian Davis and Peter Pope set up the Hawthorn Leslie 3837 Preservation Society in a bid to rescue the locomotive, which has been sitting behind Leatherhead Leisure Centre, in Guildford Road, for more than 25 years.

The council has been refurbishing the sports centre and wants to expand it to cover the site where the train stands on a small piece of track. Children were once able to play on the engine - which was built in 1934 - but Mr Davis said it has been “terribly neglected”.

He said: “We are looking at a maximum figure on getting it moved and restored of £100,000, and we need donations.

“We are going to restore it back to steam - but it’s been driving me nuts because we’ve got difficulty getting it out.”

The 63-year-old, who has a quarter-of-a-mile long model railway track at his home in Fetcham, appealed for anyone with heavy engineering equipment such as lathes, vintage Whitworth spanners or even a crane to contact the society.

He added: “If anybody has got a bit of experience and is willing to get their hands dirty and are quite strong, they will always be welcome to help us out.”

Water treatment company the Biwater Group Limited, in Dorking, donated the train to the council in 1985.

The saddle tank locomotive was built in Tyneside for Corby Iron and Steel works, where it ran until 1969. It then moved to the Nene Valley Railway in 1974 and stayed there until 1981.

Mr Pope, a driver for builders’ merchants Travis Perkins, only learned about the train when he spotted it as he made a delivery to the leisure centre construction site.

The qualified railway engineer, who has driven and worked on the Flying Scotsman, convinced Mr Davis they should buy the steam engine to try and save it.

The friends hope to move it to heritage railway the Lavender Line, in East Sussex, for youngsters to enjoy again.

The society has urged enthusiasts to sign up and become members for £25 a year to help restore the train back to its former glory, by writing to The Membership Secretary, 63 Canon Grove, Fetcham, KT22 9LP.