31271’s mainline career finished at Toton TMD where it was ‘stored unserviceable’ from 01/05/1997 prior to purchase by A1A Locomotives, initially as a source of spare parts. It was moved by road to the MRB on 28/05/98 and assisted progress with the restoration of 31108, yielding many valuable components including six cylinder heads.
- Following 31108’s completion and return to full working order, A1A Locomotives decided to begin restoring 31271 , initially to prevent valuable components deteriorating through condensation, seizure and plain lack of use.
- During its thorough ‘top end’ mechanical rebuild, three cylinder liners were found to be scored as a result of broken piston rings; these were renewed whilst all pistons were machined prior to fitting with new rings and reinstallation in the cylinder block.
- A considerable programme of electrical work was also completed and the loco hauled its inaugural services at Butterley on 20th April 2002.
- Extensive bodywork repairs were undertaken between January and May 2004 when undercover accommodation became available in the Matthew Kirtley Museum at Swanwick Junction.
- The loco was repainted into trainload construction livery as carried during its closing period of mainline service.
31271 was formally named ‘ STRATFORD 1840-2001’ at the National Railway Museum Railfest 200 event on 31st May 2004. The naming is A1A Locomotives tribute to Stratford’s rich locomotive history and, in particular its leading role in the Cass 31 story. Whilst 31271 spent its first year in traffic as a Stratford loco (it was also based there between November – December 1988 and March 1989 – October 1990, no less than 75% of the class were allocated there at some point during their BR careers.