Earlier this year, pannier tank engine 6412 returned to service on the South Devon Railway to begin a new lease of life as was originally intended when it hauled the first train in preservation on this line in 1969. However it spent a long time away in between! 6412 was soon moved to the Paignton and Dartmouth Railway by its former owners and eventually in 1976 it was sold to the West Somerset Railway. Funnily enough it hauled that railway’s first service train in preservation and remained there until 2009. By this time it was too small for the West Somerset Railway but still ideal for the South Devon Railway who were happy to purchase the locomotive and bring it back. Earlier this year 6412 entered service after completion of its overhaul and my wife and I had the pleasure of being hauled by it this summer.
Funnily enough this was not the first time that we had been pulled by a 64xx class on the South Devon Railway as in 2012 classmate 6430 was visiting the line. 6412 is one of three surviving 64xx class pannier tank engines, the aforementioned 6430 being preserved on the Llangollen Railway and 6435 on the Bodmin and Wenford Railway.
It was good to see 6412 returned home in smart BR lined green. It is an ideal locomotive for this busy former branch line and well worth catching. Thanks for reading!