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Newbie Works, Annan, Dumfries & Galloway DG12 5QU Scotland

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TV Crew & 'The Vital Spark' Steam Puffer Visit Cochran

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Cochran Plays Host to 'The Vital Spark' as TV Company Documents Restoration of Famous Steam Puffer, the VIC 27 or ‘Auld Reekie’.

This vessel is possibly best known for her starring role as the Vital Spark in the 1994 TV series ‘The Tales of Para Handy’. Following her television debut, the puffer was left to rust and rot in Ardrishaig until 2008 when a team of puffer enthusiasts secured ownership of the vessel and rescued her from an imminent future on the scrapheap. From Ardrishaig, the engineless, leaky vessel was towed through the Crinan canal to Crinan Boatyard where her restoration would take place.

The Vital Spark Steam Puffer on the Crinan

Since then, the restoration of the vessel has been filmed by television production company Caledonia TV and a 3-part series will be shown on the BBC later in the year. The camera crew visited Cochran along with John Dunlop, Managing Director of Crinan Boatyard, to film the latest progress on the boiler build.

The original Coal Fired Cochran Boiler, manufactured in 1943, was brought back to our factory for inspection but after thorough examination was condemned. However, Cochran have been tasked with the manufacture of a new, more efficient coal fired boiler replacement, using the old boiler as a template. The new boiler, rated at 1000kg/hr has a working pressure of 10 bar g. The boatyard will take delivery of the new boiler in the summer and thereafter, smoke will rise from the funnel of ‘Auld Reekie’ once again. 

Auld Reekie's steam boiler undergoing restoration at Cochran


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