Train enthusiasts who bought an old blue steam engine from Mole Valley Council for £1 have secured enough track to move it.

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

After appearing in an October edition of the Epsom Guardian to appeal for money so they could move the train, their pleas have been answered by an unknown benefactor who has loaned some tracking to the society.

Mr Davis said: “We have finally managed to secure some track to move the engine which is a great development.”

The group met on January 28 to travel to Ukfield in Sussex to collect the anonymous donation.

Mr Davis added: “It was hard work and very cold out but our lads got back to the leisure centre with two trailer loads of equipment at around 6pm.

“I was unable to join them on the day but I did manage to greet them with some hot drinks and mars bars when they returned.”

“Over the previous few weeks the locomotive's coupling and connecting rods were removed and certain parts of the inside valve gear were disconnected to enable us to move the loco reasonably freely without damaging anything after being totally stationary for the last 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”.

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, discovered 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.

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