Your own working SCNF steam train - for £800,000


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It criss-crossed France's national railway network for almost 1.5 million kilometres, it needs more than ten tons of coal to travel just 250 miles and it could be yours for around £800,000 - and it's in full working order. The SNCF locomotive 141R 568 is on sale from its reluctant owners who no longer its massive running expenses.

What to do with one full-size loco and tender?


"It's a fantastic buy," its current owner, Andrew Cook, told the Telegraph, "for anyone with that sort of money. It really is a wonderful machine with so many gadgets and it is one of the last of its kind. It also has a great history."

Now, just six 141R engines remain in running condition. With France's train network and industry decimated after the Second World War, SNCF looked to US engineering support. Following negotiations with the Americans, SNCF agreed on a US Mikado design that was adapted for European use.

At the time of their introduction - the first 141R was unloaded onto Marseilles docks in 1945 - the adapted trains were considered hugely powerful, reliable and had low running costs; there were both oil and coal-burning versions.

Rolling, rolling

This particular 141R 568 for sale - the owners are looking for around £800 - can't be used on British train tracks because it's too wide. What to do, then, a hugely cumbersome piece of French rolling stock?

Last year we profiled the £550,000 Grade 2 listed Bristol home that in a previous life was a former railway station. It also came with its own train, carriage and telephone box.

Full equipped holiday homes have been an option. Carol and Mark Benson came across the old Ebberston railway station in Allerston, complete with platform. The diminutive station-house couldn't take guests, so the couple bought and converted train carriages - and kept them on the platform.

Going nowhere

Other alternatives include cafes. A 1960s commuter train carriage was dropped into a site next to Deptford High Street train station in south east London, part of a regeneration scheme with the London Borough of Lewisham.

In Shoreditch, Village Underground deploys ex tube carriages recycled as studios for film, photography, music and business start-ups.

Then there's the 32-feet long Jubilee line carriage was was given a new life as a studio for Radio Lollipop at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital.

There's also a financial accounting issue with buying rolling stock. If a train is not technically a property, there could even be tax advantages - but check with your accountant before buying.