The first British Rail Standard Locomotive No. 70000 Britannia has been back in service for 7 months and is now back at Crewe where it is to be repainted into BR green.
After a break of 16 years, the first BR Standard’ steam locomotive re-entered main line service in Spring 2011. The engine carried a plain black livery and was not carrying nameplates, exactly how the engine was outshopped in 1951, 60 years ago by British Rail.
History is likely to repeat itself again when the engine next operates on the main line in 2012. It will be carrying the BR lined green livery and nameplates as it did 6 months or so after entering service in 1951.
Some details of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebratory events have just been announced, and it is now very likely that the engine will be used on the Royal Train as part of these in the Olympic year.
The engine’s last trip in unlined black was for Steam Dreams between Southend and Winchester on December 10. The train was a sell-out and this is sure to be repeated again when the engine carries it’s new livery.
It departed Southall for Crewe the next day to be repainted into BR Green. The engine was overhauled there over several years, and was of course, originally built at Crewe.
The engine has had a busy time in 2011 since entering service and has visited most of the English rail network. It lost a month’s operations due to mechanical problems in April but has since been a great performer.