Published 24th July 2013
THE final guest loco line up for the East Lancashire Railway’s July 27-28 ‘1T57’ 1968 End of Steam Festival will comprise 7P ‘Britannia’ No. 70013 Oliver Cromwell and ‘Black Five’ No. 45407 The Lancashire Fusilier as previously announced, plus ‘Black Five’ No. 44871.
No. 70013 Oliver Cromwell and ‘Black Five’ No. 44871 participated in the original August 11 1968 end of main line steam ‘Fifteen Guinea Special’ operation, while ‘Black Five’ No. 45407 was lined up to play the part of No. 44781, which handled the Carlisle-Manchester leg of the tour (with No. 44871) but did not survive into preservation.
It was called the ‘Fifteen Guinea Special’ because this was the cost of a ticket, a small fortune 45 years ago!
No. 44871 did not figure in the original planning since it was committed to West Highland line ‘Jacobite’ operations. Unable to secure a suitable alternative, the ELR felt it had no choice but to bite the bullet and meet the cost of bringing both ‘Black Fives’ from Fort William to Bury specially for the event to retain credibility in marking the 45th anniversary of the end of main line BR steam.
The East Lancashire’s 1T57 re-enactment train will also include the two surviving coaches from the 1968 train (TSOs M4933 and M4939) which have been repainted from maroon into blue and grey.
The gala has also expanded into a celebration of the 1960s era with era-appropriate bands, photographic exhibitions and activities aimed at families.
Early summer steam at the East Lancashire Railway has been handled by The Princess Royal Class Locomotive Trust’s 4MT 2-6-4T No. 80080 and privately owned Hunslet 0-6-0ST 3163/1943 Sapper, supported on ‘high days and holidays’ by the NRM’s LNWR G2 0-8-0 (‘Super D’) No. 49395. The ‘Super D’ is admittedly a little ‘tired’ being in the final year of its boiler ticket, but runs just fine with careful handling.
ELR-based LMS ‘Jinty’ No. 47324 has not run since being stopped after running a hot box at Easter. Dismantling uncovered other issues requiring attention but the ‘Jinty’ was to be re-wheeled in mid-July with expectations it would be ready in time to run in the 1968 End of Steam Festival.
An ELR loco definitely not anticipated for the 1968 event is ‘Crab’ 2-6-0 No. 42765. Its overhaul continues to progress but no completion date is officially projected. The railway says, “when it is ready.” Our feeling is late summer/early autumn.
As the ‘End of Steam Festival’ approached the East Lancashire Railway commissioned section and advance starter signals at Bury Bolton Street station for the line to Heywood. Mounted on the gantry over two tracks, they are the final signalling element of the ELR’s Bury South project enabling the use of both inner and outer curves from the Heywood line into the station and adding operational flexibility within station limits.
The final elements of the project involve fitting a switch blade and linking electric point motors to the new signalling.
The traditional crossing gates at the ELR’s Rawtenstall station are to be replaced by automated barriers and traffic lights. While perhaps regrettable that this heritage feature will be lost, modern road conditions mean staff face increasing hazards as they step into the road to work the gates, leaving a modern installation practically inevitable.
Written by Cliff Thomas