TWO local men are leading on a project to take away and restore the little train engine in Lochore Meadows – and all for free.

Keith Brown and Mike Heron both hail from Benarty and, with the help of other companies, organised a crane to lift the pit pug onto a low loader on Friday.

The beloved wee train has delighted visitors for years and was transported to Kirkcaldy where it will be lovingly restored.

Ian Laing, park manager at the Meedies, told the Times: “It’s been there for decades. A lot of the people coming to it now with their kids came when they were young with their own grandparents.

"It’s been there a long time but it’s had a hard life and urgently needs a major refurbishment.

“Keith and Mike, who are both from here, have agreed to come and do it and it’ll be a major benefit for the community and the park. I don’t think we could have undertaken this kind of work under our own steam.”

He added: “They’re taking it to Kirkcaldy to Keith’s yard and any time his staff have a few hours to spare they’ll work on it.

"Any bits that are rusty or porous, dented or bashed, they’ll remove and replace so it’ll be completely restored and more attractive for kids.

“There’s never been anything interactive on it before so they’ll add some levers and gauges, things to press and pull, so this will be an improvement.

"It’ll be great to see when it’s done but it’s going to be away for 12-18 months as it’s a major project and they’re doing it for free.”

Keith, operations manager at engineering firm Smeaton Services Ltd, said: “I own the company, Mike’s the contracts manager and we both come from the Benarty area. I’m 55 and we take the grandkids to the Meedies all the time and they couldn’t go near the wee pug, which is an absolute sin.

“Right now it’s an eyesore and we just wanted to get involved in doing something for the community. I got in touch with Lea McLelland (local councillor) and met Ian on site and decided to start in the summer.

"It’s just a nice thing to do. We’re a local business that can do something for the community, we’ve got the facilities so why not?”

The train will be re-painted in its original colours and money raised by 11-year-old Ollie Cowan last year will help in the purchase of paint.

The pupil at St Bride’s Primary School in Cowdenbeath launched a ‘Save the Meedies train’ Crowdfunder to “help me get the train cleaned, painted and back to brand new again”.

Ollie raised an amazing £1,110 in just 41 days with the help of 62 supporters and he has been invited to Kirkcaldy to see the work in progress.

Fans of the pit pug will be able to follow progress on social media and at the end an interpretation board will be installed that will detail the history of the train and its restoration.

Keith continued: “It’s coming back to our shop, we’ll strip the metal that’s beyond repair and get it all restored. I’ll have a couple of guys on it two or three days a week when we’ve got the time, as we’ve still got a business to run, but we’ve got the availability.

“It won’t be a short process but, believe me, it’ll come back looking a million dollars.

“We’re all excited about bringing it back here. It’s mostly cosmetic. The sheet steel is badly corroded but the main structure is fine.

“It’s been out in all weathers and it’s suffered from a lack of maintenance but we’ll have it back in its original colours and the work will last for the next 20-30 years.

"I’m hoping this time next year it’ll be sitting there like a bright new penny.”

Speedy Lifting in Inverkeithing, Williamson Haulage from Cowdenbeath and Forsyth of Denny Ltd were all involved in the lifting and transportation of the pug on Friday.

Keith said: “All the companies involved are doing it free of charge, it’s phenomenal the effort that’s going in, it’s not just us.

“There’s the crane, a low loader to take it to Kirkcaldy, it’s probably around £6,000 to move it and it’s all getting done for free.

“It’s good publicity for these guys and it’s good for the local community so it’s the right thing to do.”