One of the most viewed news stories featured on rail.co.uk has been that of the failure of GWR King No. 6023 King Edward 11 with thousands of people accessing it, so this is the update concerning the repairs.
Mr Croucher told this website that following a series of boiler leaks on No. 6023 King Edward 11 while being run in at the Mid Norfolk Railway (MNR) last Summer, the way forward for repairs has now been agreed.
This followed visits by the staff from the Office of the Rail Regulator (ORR) and two independent reports by experts as to how repairs could be carried out.
The GWS has revised its engineering methods and processes as a result of ORR’s visit, confirmed by Mr Croucher and their resident man who works on boilers, Peter Gransden over the phone. The boiler repairs will be carried out without lifting the boiler and should see the engine ready for steaming for the main 2012 operating season, from Easter onwards.
It was still not clear who was to pay for the repairs but one thing is certain, the engine will not be appearing on the main line until next Autumn at the earliest. Mr Croucher said that it would be tested on the larger and more challenging preserved lines to ensure it was in a suitable condition to ‘go main line’.
Although Mr Gransden denied any faulty workmanship when spoken to on November 16, he said that he had been re-instated at Didcot and was back working on boilers there under the new processes agreed with ORR.
The delay in entering service could cost the GWS another £25,000 or so as it has to be fitted with new radio equipment and was not registered for main line work. Had it been registered before November as planned, Network Rail would have paid for the supply and fitment of the new electronic kit.
The engine will also miss out on a main line trip with classmate No. 6024 King Edward 1 as its boiler ticket runs out in March, and it will then be withdrawn for overhaul.
The New Year promises to be interesting as Mr Croucher said the GWS would issue statement about the repairs in the New Year.
Meanwhile the restoration team leader, Dennis Howells continues with organizing the Steam celebrations to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Metropolitan Line in January 2013.