Published: 12th August 2013
Steam locomotive No. 76084 works first passenger train for 46 years
Withdrawn by BR in December 1967 and now restored to action, BR Standard Class 4 No. 76084 worked its first passenger train in preservation on July 21. The train over the North Norfolk Railway was for 76084 Locomotive Company shareholders and guests.
No. 76084 arrived at the North Norfolk Railway on June 7 following restoration to steam at Hepscott. It was painted, lined and lettered by the NNR then undertook running in trials before its big day.
Arrival of the BR Standard 2-6-0 provided very welcome steam reinforcement, the Poppy Line having been tighter than planned with only B12 No. 8572 and 0-6-2T No. 5619 available to provide early summer steam. Further help is imminent in the form of ‘Black Five’ No. 45337 which has been receiving attention at Llangollen. NRM-owned No. 777 Sir Lamiel should also shortly return to Weybourne following work on the flue tubes at its Great Central Railway base.
While the early part of the season may have been tougher for steam than expected, the North Norfolk’s August 30 – September 1 steam gala will present a veritable feast of steam. The above mentioned locos will be joined by star guests A1 No. 60163 Tornado and No. 70013 Oliver Cromwell. It might just be even better the railway hopes ‘Black Five’ No. 44767 George Stephenson might also be back in action in time for the event following work on the boiler at Hepscott.
The good news for the Nene Valley Railway is that resident BR Standard 5MT No. 73050 City of Peterborough has returned to service. It appeared, moving under its own power, during a June 29-30 ‘Thomas’ event and returned to full service for the July 13-14 TPO weekend, although tinder dry land around the railway and the consequent fire risk limited all steam operation to the Wansford end of the NVR.
The rather less good news is withdrawal of 4F No. 44422 from service. The 44422 Locomotive Co Ltd’s 4F initially went to LNWR Heritage, Crewe at the end of June for an annual boiler exam. There were concerns over the crown stays (which date from BR days) and these proved well based - a July 5 boiler inspection confirmed the stays had reached the point the loco could no longer be steamed.
Full crown stay replacement would require removal of the boiler tubes and the reluctant decision was to withdraw No. 44422 for an early 10-year overhaul. The 4F went to Peak Rail on July 19 for the overhaul to be undertaken at Rowsley. It rather looks as though the loco will be running at Peak Rail when it returns to service.
Back at the Nene Valley, the only loco available to support 5MT No. 73050 is hired Hunslet 0-6-0ST ‘Austerity’ No. 22 (HE3844/1956). Talks are therefore in progress to hire an additional loco.
However, two additional steam locos have been booked for the NVR’s September 14-15 steam gala, Llangollen-based Standard 4MT 2-6-4T No. 80072 and Peckett 0-4-0ST (1438/1916) from the Appleby Frodingham Railway Preservation Society (Scunthorpe steelworks), with a third visitor likely to be confirmed in due course.
The Pontypool & Blaenavon Railway has reinforced its steam fleet by hiring Vulcan Foundry-built 'Austerity' 0-6-0ST NCB No. 72 (5309/45) owned by James (Fred) Hymas which was recently, after a more than fraught restoration project, finally returned to steam at Llangollen. It left the banks of the River Dee to head for South Wales on July 10 and was in action at the one-time coal line under the shadow of the preserved Big Pit coal mine the following weekend. It is likely to form the primary P&BR motive power through the remainder of the summer season. The hire will include appearing at the P&BR’s August 10-11 Family Fun Weekend and August 25-26 Transport Rally.
No. 72 is also added to the line up for the P&BR’s September 14-15 Steam Gala which already features resident RSH 0-6-0ST 7169/1945 ‘Mech. Navvies Ltd.’ (WD No. 71515) and high-profile visitors, NRM-owned LNWR G2 0-8-0 (‘Super D’) No. 49395 and LNWR Webb 0-6-2T ‘Coal Tank’ No. 58926.
While the derailment incident at Quorn during the first day of the Great Central Railway’s April 27-28 ‘Swithland Steam Gala’ (http://www.rail.co.uk/rail-news/2013/steam-locomotive-totally-derailed-at-the-great-central-railway/) is not being investigated by RAIB, the Office of the Rail Regulator certainly took notice.
With the West Somerset Railway’s June 7-9 Mixed Traction Gala being selected as the next big event scheduled on a major heritage line after the GCR incident, an ORR representative called a meeting with the event organisers.
ORR wanted to work through how such special events were planned and managed. Discussions included staff competence, fitness to run of stock, avoidance of fatigue, emergency planning and much more.
The WSR’s arrangements were deemed satisfactory and the event (featuring 11 locomotives, just one of which was steam - S&DJR 7F No. 88) took place as planned and without incident. The only down side was attendance, despite all the planning, numbers were down 12.3%, 2,536 compared to 2,891 in 2012.