IT’S enough to drive anyone loco, but for the past two decades a team of volunteers have spent 50,000 hours restoring steam engine King Edward II to its former glory.

And tomorrow the restored Great Western Railway express locomotive will go on show to the public for the first time at Didcot Railway Centre.

It was saved from a scrapyard almost 30 ago and has taken a legion of volunteers 20 years to rebuild, at a cost of £700,000.

The public will be able to see the engine in steam on the centre’s demonstration line, next to Didcot Parkway station, tomorrow.

Centre manager Roger Orchard said: “It’s going to be a fantastic day for the volunteers, because their dream of bringing a scrap locomotive back to running order has been realised after 20 years of hard work and dedication.

He added: “Restoring King Edward II has become an obsession for some and in one or two cases has almost caused divorces, because it took over the men’s lives and relationships suffered.”

At 1pm on Saturday, Richard Croucher, the chairman of the Great Western Society, will make a speech, before the train is officially launched by Steve Davis, the director of the National Railway Museum at York.

Mr Orchard added: “King Edward II will run through some tape down by the turntable. We wouldn’t smash a bottle of champagne on it, because the volunteers would get very upset if we chipped the paintwork.

“We’re expecting a big crowd at the weekend to see King Edward II running for the first time.”

The locomotive was built in 1930 and withdrawn by British Railways in 1962. The Brunel Trust bought it in 1982 from a scrapyard at Barry, in South Wales.

Didcot Railway Centre took it on as a rusting hulk in 1990, since when it has slowly been restored, piece by piece.

King Edward II is one of the three survivors of the most powerful class of GWR locomotive, along with No 6024 King Edward I, based in Somerset, and the National Railway Museum’s No 6000 King George V.