Gresley Steam Dreams trip

Sir Nigel Gresley prepares to bow out from main line service while former MD Roger Barker is remembered.

Published: 21st June 2015

Branch Line Society and Charity Railtours raise thousands for good causes

London North Eastern Railway designed and built post war world steam speed record holder ‘A4’ Class No 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley will end its latest main line operations on the Steam Dreams July 5 charter train. This operation was in doubt because of Network rail gauging issues at Grosmont where the locomotive is based. Thanks to the intervention of the North Yorks Moors Railway, the issue has been resolved and No. 60007 can bow out of service, hopefully in style.

The engine’s final trip for a few years is the ‘Cathedrals Express to Edinburgh’ which runs from Kings Cross to Edinburgh calling at Hertford North, Stevenage, Peterborough, Retford and York.

The Late Roger Barker

This will be the first time in about 40 years that Roger Barker will not be present with the engine after losing his battle with cancer on 5th June. He was the long-serving Managing Director of the A4 Locomotive Society and an extremely popular person in the preserved railway world. He retired from his MD’s post in January 2015 but carried on until late April and was guest of honour at a retirement dinner on 9th May 2015.

To commemorate his contribution over the decades to the engine, The Sir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Trust (SNGLT) will be naming their support coach "The Roger Barker Coach". This is also due for overhaul contributions towards this in memory of Roger are invited. The Trust say that this is a fitting and permanent tribute to Roger who will henceforth always be with 60007 when operating on the mainline.

After its upcoming overhaul plaques will be fitted to each end of the coach such that they will be visible when at a platform. A naming ceremony will be held when the coach re-enters traffic.

Donations can be made on line at

Donations can be made on line at or made by post to:

The SNGLT fund-raising officer:

Paul Bush,

3 Fair View


Herts, CM21 9AG.

If you are a UK taxpayer and haven't already done so please consider using Gift Aid, using this link , to increase the value of your contribution.

More sad SNGLT news

The SNGLT was further hit when Vice President Melvin Haigh passed away on 23rd May. He was their Education Officer for many years, retiring in May 2008 as well as a prolific contributor to the SNGLT magazine ‘Chime’ and his seminal works on livery, boilers and tenders remain reference documents on our website and are regularly referenced by authors and magazine contributors.

Branch Line Society and Charity Railtours raises thousands

The Branch Line Society (BLS) is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and has raised tens of thousands of pounds for charitable causes while arranging trains over non-passenger lines.

The Society is a UK-based voluntary association for railway enthusiasts with a thousand members spread across the UK established in 1955. It is widely acknowledged to be Britain's leading amateur group for the study of railway infrastructure and associated history of the rail network, covering the main line and everything to industrial and minimum gauge railways – not just branch lines.

The BLS arranges special visits and trains plus offers a comprehensive news service to members as well as producing and distributing publications with an emphasis on the physical works and on operating arrangements, rather than locomotives and rolling stock.

Their next outing is ‘The Thameslink Tracker’ which runs from Bedford to Herne Hill and back with a break at Blackfriars on July 12. On the face of it spending all day on a Class 319 may not seem a big deal but this special train has been arranged with the BLS and Thameslink’s Train planner Matthew Dodds with funds being raised for two hospitals that separately saved the lives of his father-in-law and brother.

A real DAA Railtour!

The train offers what is probably a unique chance to visit Bedford Cauldwell Depot, Bedford Jowett Sidings, Luton Crescent Road and Herne Hill Sidings as its main highlights. Perhaps the most sought after bit of central London railway by members will be below street level Smithfield sidings between City Thameslink and Farringdon station. This is a real what used to known as a DAA Railtour and the letters will not be explained here!

Tickets are £75 and all profits will be split between The Royal Marsden Cancer Hospital, Harefield Hospital and Max Appeal. Max Appeal helps children with the genetic condition '22QDS', including nine-year-old Adam Tripp, son of Great Northern driver Mark Tripp.

• The Charity Railtours organised ‘Four Triangles’ train promoted by Dennis Barnes over the weekend of May 9 and 10 ended up raising over £5000 for ADRA .

Tornado returns to service after £400,000 overhaul

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, (A1SLT) the registered charity which built, owns and operates the new-build ‘A1’ steam locomotive No. 60163 Tornado has announced that the engine has returned to service after an eight month, £400,000 overhaul at Darlington Locomotive Works. The engine was built over 18 years at a cost of £3million and the Trust s celebrating its Silver Jubilee this year.

The boiler underwent a mandatory full internal inspection with associated tube replacement, the renewal of foundation ring corners and stay replacement and increasing the number of flexible stays to enhance reliability carried out by DB Meiningen in Germany where the boiler was built.

Mechanical work included Re-setting of hornblock/axlebox clearances, a check for frame cracks using NDT and inspection of all bolted/riveted joints and splitting and inspection of roller bearing axle/cannonboxes and repairs as necessary.

Improvements were made to pipework and installation of air pumps to speed removal and refitting and the tender tank was cleaned out and repaired. The most visible part of the overhaul is the full re-paint in LNER apple green livery.

The overhaul was slightly delayed boiler due to the boiler arriving back from DB Meiningen later than planned in April 2015 causing a month’s delay.

The engine has been moved to Shildon by road to from Darlington and after a test running, was due to move to Millerhill depot near Edinburgh in preparation for a series of trains in Scotland.

1000 not out!

Pathfinders Railtours started out in business in 1973 and 42 years later have promoted their 1000th train, the ‘Heart of Wales Rambler’ which ran on Saturday 20th June. Their General Manager Peter Watts has been with the company since the first train and remained with the company after they were rescued from going out of business in 2006 by the owners of Riviera Trains.

Pathfinder is promoting a special train, ‘The Lakes and Borderer Explorer’ on July 18 using a Class 68 diesel. It runs to Carlisle starting at Newport calling at stations via Bristol, Swindon, Leamington and Nuneaton. From Carlisle station, a bus shuttle service may operate to the Direct Rail Services Depot at Kingmoor open between 10am to 4pm for their 20th anniversary Open Day.

The following day sees the DRS Charity Open Day at their Gresty Bridge depot in Crewe take place.

• See charter train diary for details of all trains at

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