Clan Line climbs the gradient with a steel train. Courtesy of Peter Starks

Golden Arrow’s regular steam locomotive hauls steel train in Sheffield

Published 02 July 2013

Clan Line marks centenary of the Outokumpu Steel Works in Tinsley

In 1913, Sheffield metallurgist Harry Brearley developed the first Stainless Steel. A century later the Outokumpu Stainless Steel Works in Tinsley still produce Stainless Steel to the same process and several hundred more. As a tribute, the Finish owned company decide to stage a three day celebratory event involving the local community.

Freight train operators, DB Schenker (DBs) arranged months ago for BR ‘Standard’ Pacific No. 70000 Britannia to be on site for the event. Unfortunately some unplanned remedial work on the engine had not been completed in time so was unavailable. With just over a week to go, the Merchant Navy Locomotive Preservation Society (MNLPS) owners of Southern Railway ‘Merchant Navy’ Class express passenger locomotive No. 35028 Clan Line were contacted to see if their engine was available.

Testing times

At the time Clan Line was undergoing routine maintenance and a steam test would be required to ensure the maintenance was as planned. After consideration and with several days before decision day, the MNLPS decided that every effort would be made to make Clan Line available. Behind the scenes many phone calls and emails took place to get the necessary crews, resources, paperwork, etc. in place ready for a long six day tour of duty.

The engine is based at Stewarts Lane in south London and had to get to Sheffield with Network Rail (NR) and DBS also very busy putting in place the necessary processes, procedures and resources to authorize the movement. Confirmation of movement was received on Monday 10th June and Clan Line was ‘good to go’.

After completion of preparations, Clan Line and its Support Coach and crew departed Stewarts Lane at 0845 behind DBs diesel No. 66174 bound for Tinsley Yard via the North and West London Lines, and the East Coast Main Line. NR provided a very good schedule down the ECML, and with excellent management by the signalmen, the movement became a clockwork operation with an on time arrival at Tinsley Yard near Sheffield.

Steely Challenge

From here the local DBs team faced the challenge of moving a large steam engine cautiously over a route that had never seen steam before. Some time later Clan Line arrived safely in Outokumpu Stainless Steel Works and was made welcome. The next three days were to be long and hard for both Clan Line and the MNLPS Support crew – a working day of up to fourteen hours split into two shifts.

This was to work the scheduled shunting movements of Stainless Steel ingots, weighing in at up to 600 tons. Demonstration runs over the spur with a 1 in 90 grade were planned with 450 tons.

The event schedule

a) Thursday 13 June; Customers & Suppliers Day

b) Friday 14 June; Local Schools Day

c) Saturday 15 June; Families Day; Employees and their families.

With a rest and preparation day on Sunday, Clan Line would return south on Monday 17th June.

Of Pensionable age this Christmas…

No. 35028 Clan Line is approaching her 65th birthday in December 2013, 45 years of which, has been in the ownership of the volunteer led MNLPS. The engine is currently based at Stewarts Lane, Battersea, London and is world famous for her role in hauling the ‘Orient Express’ British Pullman services and other specialist charter excursions. Check out charter section for full details of when the engine can be seen and travelled behind on excursions.

Clan Line needs YOU

The Society urgently needs to recruit, a younger engineering membership to ‘carry the mantle’ and assist with Clan Line’s future operation, If you possess relevant engineering skills, experience, or background and feel that you could contribute towards achieving this key objective, then we would like to hear from you. For that purpose, please would you e-mail:

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