2013 has been a rather mixed year for railway preservation, with several massive highs in contrast to what has been a very difficult year for many railways across the country. 2013 has by no means been disappointing; although the weather has let us down a fair few times! The arctic spring was welcomed by some photographers, but put visitor numbers way down for some gala events, which has had financial implications for the rest of the year. Fortunately, an excellent summer and lack of any notable winter has put a reverse on that trend, even if the autumn was a little average, with many galas seeing wet weather.
A general locomotive shortage has also plagued 2013, leading to difficulties for certain railways maintaining advertised steam services and also for mainline charters; that is without mentioning the ‘steam ban’ which meant a difficult summer season for the regular charters. Nonetheless, the preservation movement has fought through the challenges that this year has brought to produce many highlights and treasured memories; which is what we would like to bring to you as we celebrate 2013.
The Bluebell Railway’s extension to East Grinstead
After re-opening back in 1960, the Bluebell Railway’s eventual aim has always been to reach East Grinstead; and so it was on a snowy 23rd March that the line’s two original locomotives, LBSCR “Terrier” 0-6-0T 55 ‘Stepney’ and SECR ‘P’ 0-6-0T 323 ‘Bluebell’, hauled the first train from Sheffield Park to East Grinstead. This was the empty stock for the official re-opening train, which was hauled by another of the line’s pioneering locomotives, LBSCR 0-6-2T 473 ‘Birch Grove’, with ‘Stepney’ and ‘Bluebell’ on the rear. The train, appropriately named “The Pioneer”, (the same as the original 1960 re-opening train), ran from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park and was the first train to do so since 16th March 1958. Half an hour after the departure of the first public Bluebell Railway train from East Grinstead, a special dining train arrived from Sheffield Park behind SR ‘U’ 2-6-0 1638. The re-opening day marked the start of a two week long festival, celebrating the lines achievements that cost an estimated £11 million, and mark the final northern extension to the line after reaching Kingscote in 1994.
The gala saw an intensive timetable, with four train sets in operation, 2 formed of vintage stock, one of mainly Southern stock and the other either of MK1 stock or the dining train coaches. Locomotives used were: SECR pair ‘H’ 0-4-4T 263 and ‘P’ 0-6-0T 178 on the Metropolitan/Four-wheeler set, LBSCR ‘E4’ 0-6-2T B473 and SECR ‘P’ 0-6-0T 323 ‘Bluebell’ on the SR olive green Maunsell/SECR set, SR ‘U’ 2-6-0 1638 on the Bulleid/MK1 or Dining Train and visiting BR ‘9F’ 2-10-0 92212 on the MK1 set. The Bluebell Railway have suffered several setbacks with locomotives over the year, with SECR ‘C’ 0-6-0 592 unable to attend the re-opening, due to repair work needed on the locomotive. Metropolitan liveried ‘Prairie’ L. 150 (5521) joined the Bluebell ranks for much of the year, when she was not otherwise engaged in ‘Steam on the Met’ commitments. One notable Bluebell occasion was the running of their set of four Metropolitan coaches, hauled by ‘E Class’ 0-4-4T Met 1 on the underground back in January. 92212 has now returned to the Mid-Hants Railway after the best part of two years with the Bluebell and GWR 0-6-2T 5643 has been announced as a replacement hire loco from February 2014.
It was also an historic year for the Bluebell with the first public diesel hauled trains. ‘Class 33’ 33103 “Swordfish” proved extremely popular with diesel enthusiasts, when it was used on some scheduled passenger trains, during the summer season as well as on Thunderbird duties. Some passengers were even disappointed when it was replaced by a steam loco on a run which was expected to be diesel hauled! The line’s latest acquisition on the diesel shunter front, 09018, also saw use on a passenger train, after a steam locomotive failure when the 33 was already in passenger service.
With the overhaul completed on SR ‘S15’ 4-6-0 847 in time for a return to public service on Santa Specials from Saturday 14th December onwards, as well as a successful pioneering firebox repair on SR ‘U’ 2-6-0 1638 meaning that the loco was back in traffic on Saturday 23rd November, the Bluebell Railway look to have re-gained a strong position on the large loco front in time for 2014. A video report on the re-opening of the line to East Grinstead is available from the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hsq2DoKn1QM
‘Riley Pair’ 44871 and 45407 to the rescue
(Image courtesy of Shep Woolley)
With their first hurrah as the main motive power for the ‘GBVI’ Rail tour after numerous loco failures, meaning that the original itinerary was not possible, it has been an excellent year for LMS ‘Black 5’s 44871 & 45407. The pair started out by being a major feature at the East Lancashire Railway Winter Gala, starring alongside 34046 ‘Braunton’, which was on running in turns following work to get the loco ready for her return to the mainline. This was also a rare opportunity to see the pair double-headed and facing north at Bury. It was, however, not a rare chance to see the pair in the snow, as the superb run over Shap with the ‘Winter Cumbrian Mountain Express’ the following weekend proved. This run provided passengers and photographers alike with the rare opportunity to see steam and snow in superb scenery and the sound track was true ‘Riley 5’ style; perfect for what was to become the first of many spectacular mainline trips for the pair in 2013.
Even before 44871 and 45407 headed south for a first time this year, they were off north to rescue the early season trains on the NYMR, as over-running maintenance work and loco failures were putting huge pressures on the home fleet. On the GBVI the pair really came into their own and gave the passengers superb performances, even if a lot of the variety in the rostered locos had been lost. 44871 and 45407 covered for almost every booked loco on the GBVI tour at some point or another , with LNER ‘K4’ 2-6-0 61994 ‘The Great Marquess’ doing some of the Scottish trips and ‘A4’s 60009 ‘Union of South Africa’ and 4464 ‘Bittern’ doing the final leg down the ECML. The first leg of the tour was hauled by SR 4-6-2 34067 ‘Tangmere’, but once 45407 came on as a pilot to ‘Tangmere’ over the Devon banks, the tour was in the more than capable hands of the ‘Riley fives’ until it reached Scotland. Passenger comments were certainly very favourable; the two locos put on a very good show.
After making the headlines with the GBVI tour, the pair next headed up to be the principle guest locos for the NYMR’s 40th Anniversary Gala, alongside LNER ‘B1’ 4-6-0 61306 “Mayflower” and a visit from the NELPG’s LNER ‘K1’ 2-6-0 62005. Although after the first weekend of the gala both 44871 and 62005 had to go off up to Fort William to start the 2013 ‘Jacobite’ services, 45407 remained at the NYMR with Ian Riley’s Class 37, until they were both also called up to Scotland for ‘Jacobite’ duties. During their time on the NYMR, the locos put in superb performances and proved as capable and reliable as ever. The NYMR were certainly left with a gap in their fleet once the locos had left.
Once up at Fort William, the two ‘Black 5s’ formed the mainstay of the ‘Jacobite’ fleet with 44871 taking the afternoon train most days, with the morning set being handled either by 45407 or ‘K1’ 62005. 45407 made a brief trip down to Bury at the end of July, to run with 70013 ‘Oliver Cromwell’ at the East Lancs.’ event, celebrating 45 years since the end of BR steam and finally re-creating the famous 1T57 rail tour. For this event the loco ran as SVR based classmate 45110, the loco that hauled the first and last legs of the last steam hauled passenger train on BR.
The pair then returned to Scotland and remained there up until the end of the 2013 ‘Jacobite’ season. Both locos also featured on the end of season photo charter and provided superb scenes for the photographers, accompanied by some excellent weather.
The final surprise of the year for the locos was heading off down to WCRC Southall to work the Cathedrals Express rail tours in November/December, duties which were previously the reserve of ‘A1’ 60163 ‘Tornado’ when the tour was operated by DB Schenker. The locos operated impeccably on very demanding schedules and a very high volume of tours. The locos were very much welcomed as a change by photographers and passengers alike, pleased to see such well turned out locos heading ‘down their way’. Whilst down in London, the two locos also found themselves covering for unexpected loco unavailability on other tours, providing even more people with the opportunity to see these superb machines in action; this time it was the ‘Black 5s’ were adding some variety to what people were used to in the areas they visited!
The two locos have performed amazingly this year and have quite literally travelled the length and breadth of the country. Both locos are booked to star at the ELR’s Winter Gala in January, alongside: LNWR ‘Super D’ 49395, visiting BR ‘4MT’ 2-6-0 76084, LNER ‘B1’ 4-6-0 61264 and BR ‘4MT’ 2-6-4T 80080. The locos will also be taking their usual ‘Winter Cumbrian Mountain Express’ on the 25th January 2014.
Return to service of 45699 ‘Galatea’, 34046 ‘Braunton’ and BR ‘4MT’ 2-6-0 76084
Although relatively few locomotives returned to traffic this year, a few big names and Barry no-hopers were amongst those which did. Three locomotives in particular demonstrate the sheer hard work and determination that goes into restoration projects these days: 45699, 34046 and 76084. All three locomotives have seen very long and technically challenging overhauls, with at least two of the locomotives originally being bought from Barry as a source of spare parts for another member of their class. It is certain that there was a time when people thought that these three restoration projects were a mission impossible, but now all have been restored to a very high standard, with two of the locomotives presently on the mainline and the third, 76084 likely to make a return to the mainline scene at some point in the future.
The first of the trio to return to traffic was LMS ‘Jubilee’ 4-6-0 45699 ‘Galatea’ at Carnforth. Following trial runs, running in and loaded test runs the locomotive, which was beautifully turned out into BR express passenger maroon, joined the ranks of the WCRC fleet during the summer season. 45699 performed several spectacular runs, including a ‘Fellsman’ rail tour, where the loco took the best part of 13 coaches and ‘class 47’ 47580 ‘County of Essex’ over the Settle and Carlisle, despite the ‘steam ban’. 45699’s second public outing involved the loco being a last minute substitute for 46115 on the ‘Coast to Coast’ tour, due to coaching stock issues, 46115 itself being a replacement for the originally billed combination of ‘Black 5’ 45305 and 70013 ‘Oliver Cromwell’. 45699 performed exceptionally on this tour and saw some use on the summer Scarborough Spa Expresses as a result. Although adjustments had to be made on the locomotive following the first batch of rail tours, that saw the loco in the workshops of both the NRM in York and WCRC at Carnforth during the main summer running season, the loco was a guest at the NRM at Shildon for their September gala. Following this appearance, two tours to the west were handled very capably by 45699. Again the originally booked loco was 46115, but gauging issues near Chester meant that the loco was unsuitable. ‘Galatea’ finished the season at Carnforth and is presently being prepared for an exciting 2014 season, which should include runs with sister loco 5690 ‘Leander’.
The second major mainline debutant of 2013 was SR re-built Bulleid ‘West Country’ 4-6-2 34046 ‘Braunton’. Following repair work to the loco at Ian Riley and Sons Bury, including the fitting of all mainline apparatus to the loco and taking place between October 2011 and January 2013, the loco was run in at both ELR winter galas, as well as featuring on Santa train and service trains. The fitting of all the mainline gear to the loco proved to be a complicated task, but successful running in was completed in July 2013 and the loco was finally ready for its first venture out onto the mainline. This was a successful light engine run to Carnforth, followed on the same day by a successful loaded test run round the Hellifield circuit and it was not long before the long anticipated return of the loco to Southern metals. 34046 was a very complicated Barry overhaul and the loco first steamed in preservation at the WSR in September 2008, however it was not until 14th August 2013 that the loco made her first mainline rail tour, a ‘Dorset Coast Express’. Following this the loco became a feature of the 2013 ‘Torbay Express’ runs and has also made a couple of appearances on the prestigious VSOE British Pullman runs alongside the regular loco, ‘Merchant Navy’ 35028 ‘Clan Line’. 34046 also starred at the Mid Hants Railway Autumn Steam Gala in October.
BR Standard ‘4MT’ 2-6-0 76084 also made her preservation debut at the North Norfolk Railway in July; a locomotive that has seen a huge amount of work, from a very dedicated group, producing excellent results. This truly is a Standard to a very high standard, really making the locomotive stand out from other operational Standards. The decision to apply the as-built Horwich works lining, (that stops before the back of the tender tank), also makes the locomotive unique in preservation. 76084 has performed very well over the summer and has been very popular at her home base in Norfolk. Recently 76084 hauled an 8 coach photo charter and, as well as being a star attraction at the line’s September gala, 76084 has been the mainstay of the Santa services in 2013.
It has been announced that 76084 will shortly leave the NNR for her first visit away, which will see her running on her second preserved railway, the East Lancs. between January and February next year. 76084 is also likely to venture out onto the mainline at some point in her recently begun preservation career and is a loco which is a strong candidate for the proposed NNR running to Cromer.
Six A4s wow the crowds at the NRM
A lot of hard work went into the delivery of the headline event of 2013, which were the two “Great Gathering” shows at the NRM in York. From the huge amounts of time and effort that went into the cosmetic restorations of both the temporarily repatriated locos, (60008 ‘Dwight D. Eisenhower’ and 4489 ‘Dominion of Canada’), to the huge effort from staff and volunteers during the event itself, it is certain that the NRM is owed a huge amount of thanks for the spectacular show that was put on.
In a year that began with closure threats for one of the science museum group’s four museums, one of which being the NRM, they really did pull out all the stops and wow the crowds. Over 140,000 people flocked to the museum during the summer event, with one Saturday seeing numbers crest the 13,000 mark. The way that the NRM dealt with the huge crowds and unprecedented queues was difficult to find fault with; huge numbers of enthusiasts, families and tourists alike enjoying the best of what our heritage has to offer, can only be a positive thing for the preservation as a whole.
It would be very difficult for anyone to say that they were not impressed with the event; not only the somewhat surreal spectacle itself but also the way in which it was put on. Even those who were not particularly fans of the locos themselves, or the headboards they carried, still came to witness the spectacle and, in reality, it is doubtful that anyone who saw the locos was not impressed in one way or another.
The two events really showcased all that is great about the railway preservation movement and what can be achieved when we all work together. The efforts of the loco restorers and painters, as well as owners and support groups, plus the NRM’s staff and volunteers, were certainly admirable and did not go unnoticed. All of the locos were presented in immaculate condition and all those who were on hand to talk about their locomotives and answer questions also did an excellent job. What was more, all of this was offered to the public for free, including the opportunity to stand on the famous turntable of the NRM to take photos of the great locomotives, creating treasured memories for years to come. On quieter days NRM staff did their best to clear the area in front of the locomotives in the evenings, to allow people to get uncluttered shots of the line-up and although a photograph of all six together still remains elusive, some excellent shots were taken during the two main events and also the free evening shows where the locos were creatively lit up as part of the ‘Illuminating York’ festival. The atmosphere created in the museum was pretty much indescribable, but generally one of awe and amazement from many people, seeing a sight that they never dreamed was possible.
The paid add-on events were also excellent opportunities for photographers and were very well put on and reasonably priced. The event planning and thought that had gone into this sort of thing was very evident; how smoothly it all went was a testament to this. The party is of course nowhere near over, with all six locos being re-united one last time at Shildon in February next year, as well an event at Barrow Hill featuring the repatriated locomotives, which for the time being remain on display in the Great Hall of the NRM until January, as they have been for much of 2013.
On a separate but related note, this year has seen 4468 ‘Mallard’ return to many places along the ECML, a line which she once graced an on which she set the world steam speed record 75 years ago. 60007 ‘Sir Nigel Gresley’ returned to service on the NYMR during 2013 and performed well including 2 successful round trips to York on the mainline. 60009 ‘Union of South Africa’ has performed a vast number of mainline rail tours this year, being another of the mainline stalwarts of 2013. On a final and fitting note, 4464 ‘Bittern’ recently set a new official preservation speed record of 95.8 mph, on the second of her three headlining high speed runs; it certainly was a very happy 75th anniversary to the speed record, celebrated in style!
‘Sir Haydn’ and GWR ‘Manors’ on tour
(Image courtesy of Gareth Price)
The final two highlights of the year are in many ways linked, as the Talyllyn Railway’s ex- Corris Railway 0-4-2ST No. 3 ‘Sir Haydn’ has shared the limelight, and topped the bills, at two galas, that have been major players in this autumn’s unofficial Manor festival.
‘Sir Haydn’ has spent the year on a mammoth tour of a large part of the country. Setting out from her birth place at Loughborough, the loco was a hit from the start at the GCR’s Swithland gala, back in April. The loco then travelled up to the GCR(N), before moving on to Tyseley, where she met with a ‘Castle’ and two ‘Halls’ as well as topping a gala bill alongside 46233 ‘Duchess of Sutherland’, something that would be repeated at the SVR in the autumn. ‘Sir Haydn’ spent the summer months on display at the Midland Railway Centre at Butterley as a bit of respite, before No.3 was to become a unique moving exhibit at the next two stops on her tour.
Whilst No. 3 was at Butterley, the first of the Manor Galas got off to a fine start seeing Llangollen Railway’s 7822 ‘Foxcote Manor’ paired up with the SVR’s 7812 ‘Erlestoke Manor’ at Llangollen. The pair got the first of the autumn galas off in fine style, with a non-stop run each morning up the line’s steep gradients and along the extension with 9 coaches in tow. The following weekend, 7827 ‘Lydham Manor’ re-created some more Cambrian scenes, uniting with ‘Collet Goods’ 3205 on the South Devon Railway.
Both 7812 and ‘Sir Haydn’ were to re-unite for the first time at the SVR’s Autumn Steam Gala a few weeks later. This gala was also the second occasion that No. 3 would come face to face with both 4936 ‘Kinlet Hall’ and 46233 ‘Duchess of Sutherland’, headlining the gala, also starring the NRM’s ‘Schools’ 925 ‘Cheltenham’ and Metropolitan No 1. 4936 ‘Kinlet Hall’ put in several show-stopping performances covering for 46233, (that suffered with brake issues), as did GWR 2-6-2T 5164, which, although on an extension of its 10-year ticket, put in two memorable performances with a 10 coach train up the line at dusk. Nevertheless, it was No. 3 that really stole the show, being on display next to big names such as ‘Duchess of Sutherland’ and 925 at Kidderminster, as well as actually forming part of a goods train consist hauled by Ivatt ‘4MT’ 2-6-0 43106, GWR 2-8-0 2857 and 925 ‘Cheltenham’ during the gala. The ‘Sir Haydn’ goods attracted a great deal of attention and ran both day and night, generating a lot of interest in the locomotive and a large number of excellent photographs to match. 2013 has been an excellent year for the SVR, with practically all advertised steam services running as advertised, a very impressive feat given the national loco shortage and loco availability issues that the SVR had faced during the summer of 2012. A huge thank you is also owed to all the SVR staff and volunteers who made the Autumn Gala as good as it ever has been, despite facing last minute problems with the original line up.
As we moved into October, both ‘Sir Haydn’ and the ‘Manors’ headed further southwards, with all four of the currently operational ‘Manors’ headlining the WSR’s Cambrian themed Autumn Steam Gala. With re-named stations adding to the atmosphere, a truly unique event was created, triumphantly re-uniting the working ‘Manors’ in an event to rival the ‘A4s’ up north. Many trains were headed by pairs of ‘Manors’ and 7812 took its turn at hauling No. 3 in the WSR’s goods train, as some of her stable mates had done back home at the SVR. The night line-up of the four ‘Manors’ was a sight for sore eyes, a fantastic achievement, which was pretty much equalled by the night charter with 7812 and preservation’s second ‘Sir Haydn’ goods train. ‘Sir Haydn’ was exhibited at several places along the WSR and created several now iconic scenes whilst on display at Minehead.
For the two ‘Manors’ that had ventured down to the West Country from higher up the country, the autumn festivities were not yet over. The weekend after the WSR gala, the stalwart of the SVR’s night trains headed up north into Yorkshire, alongside fellow SVR resident GWR 0-6-0PT 1501 and WSR resident GWR 2-6-2T 4160, for a GWR gala in the north. 7822 ‘Foxcote Manor’ however remained a little longer in the West Country, starring at the Avon Valley’s Autumn Steam Gala, as well as on other selected days in October and November, plus driving courses, dining trains and photo charters.
All of the ‘Manors’ headed back to their respective homes in time for the start of the Santa season and ‘Sir Haydn’, with over £17,000 in donations raised by the tour already, headed to the warm, dry ‘Engine House’ museum, to spend the winter on the SVR. In December, 7820 ‘Dinmore Manor’ passed her boiler test at Ian Riley’s workshop in Bury and is presently being re-assembled at Tyseley Locomotive Works. It has also been announced that 7828 ‘Odney Manor’ is set to star at the SVR’s 2014 Spring Gala, alongside 7812 ‘Erlestoke Manor’ and a pair of visiting GWR Pannier tanks; 1638 newly painted in BR black from the KESR and 6435 plus autocoach from Bodmin.
To round off the year we thought it would be nice to hear what you thought about 2013 and allow you to share some of your personal 2013 highlights. The full thread can be view at the following link https://www.facebook.com/groups/ukheritagehub/permalink/634417523271019/, and here is a small selection of our favourites which have not been featured elsewhere in this article:
“Firing 60007 from Pickering to Grosmont AND back, without instruction!!” Sammie Kay
“Seeing DEMU 1101 being fired up for the first time in 7 years on the East Kent Railway” Amy Chris Adams
“GWSR comeback steam gala back in May and also 5029’s return to main line with some impressive performances over the South Devon banks to Kingswear & Weymouth” Thomas Trim
“D1015’s run to Weymouth followed by her storming run along the GWML” Marc Sharp
“1T57 re-run in August, one of the best sights I’ve ever seen was two ‘Black 5’s’ climbing through Manchester city centre.” Matt Evans
“I’d have to say the LT Gala on the Epping and Ongar, The SVR Autumn Gala and the return of 34046 to the mainline are my highlights from this year” James Cummins
“Meeting the Maestro at the Severn Valley, Worth Valley and Great Central Galas.” Alan Sedgwick
The above is an article taken from the final UKHH e-zine of 2013, written by Matthew Collier. But, I must take a moment to add a personal note.
It has been a tremendous year for the UK Heritage Hub, remember, we only celebrate our 2nd Anniversary in March 2014, look how far we have come! I must say a huge note of thanks to Loco Yard for joining us in partnership earlier this year, it has proven to be a great link for us both, and will continue to flourish in 2014. Thanks must also go to 72010 ‘Hengist’, The Clan Project, for hosting our e-zine, we owe them a great deal, and we continue to work closely with the team to bring you the latest developments. Also, a special mention must go to our newest partners, Aspergers Fundraiser. They are a great team of lads whom we have the great pleasure of working with and supporting with their aim of raising money for a cause close to so many members of the UKHH’s teams hearts. They have just announced dates of which their Aspergers Flyer will be running in 2014, take a look at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Aspergers-Fundraiser/224012127742940 for more details.
Finally, a message to you, our contributors and readers. We wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for you. All the time people take to submit their images, articles news and much more. We aim to provide something different to every other magazine out there, and we do. We provide something for everyone with a broad variety of articles and images. I thank each and every one of you for your continued to support to the UKHH.
I look forward to bringing you more of what you love in 2014 and beyond, the only way is up!
31st December 2013