TRUNDLING and hissing along Huddersfield's moorland roads, an awesome steam-age juggernaut came back to life yesterday.
The deafening 14-tonne road mender, which has an average speed of just 2mph, held motorists spellbound as it was driven by owner Mr Selwyn Copley from his Laund Hill, Salendine Nook home to the Nont Sarah's Hotel at Scammonden.
It was the first time the lovingly restored machine has been on the road for about 30 years.
The monster followed a route from Laund Road along Lindley Moor Road, then through Outlane to the pub.
Selwyn said: "It took me just over two hours to get there but an hour and three-quarters going back - because it's downhill."
The earliest steam-powered rollers date from the height of the Victorian empire in the 1880s.
Built in Norfolk in 1922, Selwyn's machine enjoyed a working life of more than 40 years.
The Burrell steam engine was still mending roads into the 1960s.
Selwyn bought the machine in 2000. It had been renovated by John Tomlinson, of Oldham, who rescued the rusting, scrapped vehicle and spent 30 years working on it to bring it back into roadworthy condition.
He was present to watch it roll from Selwyn's drive.
Selwyn had a chance to drive the machine soon after buying it.
"It was a bit scary!" he said. "But I always fancied a steam roller. And it came my way so I bought it.
"I have done quite a lot of work on it to get it through the boiler inspection."
Passing the all-important boiler inspection meant the huge machine could be given a valid MOT for the road.
There are thought to be only 52 `steam' rollers still in existence in England.
Selwyn's machine is worth about £50,000. He now plans to show the restored vehicle at rallies.
"It's quite a work of art," said an appreciative John Tomlinson.
Selwyn was joined in the cab for his Nont Sarah's excursion by fellow steam enthusiasts Stuart Crabb and Peter Coldwell.