British Haulage Record Created as ‘Deltic Gathering’ Draws the Crowds

Five Class 55s haul trains at the ELR.

All Operational Deltics in use Together

The East Lancashire Railway staged the 'Deltic Gathering' on October 15-16, bringing together all five operational Deltics to work an intensive timetable between Heywood and Rawtenstall. The highlight of the weekend was an evening special hauled by all five locos, which together was claimed to be a British record of 14,850 horsepower at the head of a train.

The ELR gala formed a complementary event to the previous weekend's 'Magnificent Seven’ at the NRM Shildon in County Durham. There the six surviving production Deltics had been reunited with their prototype No. DP1 for the first time.

When the Shildon event closed, operational Deltics Nos. 55002 'The King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry', 55009 (as D9009) 'Alycidon', 55016 (as D9016) 'Gordon Highlander', 55019 'Royal Highland Fusilier' and 55022 'Royal Scots Grey' moved together by rail to Bury on the ELR. Sister loco No. 55015 'Tulyar' returned by road to Barrow Hill in Derbyshire to continue its repair programme, while non-operational DP1 remained at Shildon where it is based.

The ELR ran a two-train timetable that saw all five Deltics used in rotation, with loco swaps at Bury. Some trains were single-headed, some double-headed and some top-and-tail.

The highlight was a special run on the evening of October 15 that featured all five locos at the head of one train. The 19.25 from Bury to Rawtenstall was headed (in order) by blue-liveried Nos. 55022, 55019, 55002 and green-liveried Nos. 55009 and 55016 hauling six coaches. With four of the twin-engined locos producing 3,300h.p. each, and 55016 on half-power with only one engine working, the total power available was 14,850h.p. - believed to be the most ever at the head of a train in Britain.

Complementing the Deltic-hauled trains was a shuttle between Bury and Ramsbottom hauled by sister English Electric locomotive No. 335 (green-liveried Class 40 No. 40135). For the first trips of the day, this loco had its steam heating boiler in use.

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