Heritage Railway


THIS time I am going to describe a fabulous run from 2012 with National Collection-owned BR Standard Class 7 Pacific No. 70013 Oliver Cromwell, which has now been withdrawn from the main line and will be taken out of service from the Great Central Railway at the end of the year for overhaul. This is followed by a 1972 run behind 5XP 4-6-0 No. 45596 Bahamas which is about to return to the main line after overhaul.

I have a very high regard for the Britannia Pacifics, having had a number of high quality runs behind them, both in the real days of steam and since. In my view, they were nearly the equals of Bulleid’s light Pacifics and more robust than the Southern locomotives in original condition. Only the steam qualities of the Bulleid’s boiler and the free running qualities of the original engines gave the Southern light Pacifics the edge.

Two consecutive even time runs

On Sunday, August 5, 2012, I joined the Railway Touring Company’s ‘Royal Duchy’ at Bristol Temple318 tons tare and 345 tons full. I was allocated a seat in the last coach and the helpful steward kindly found me one on the milepost side right at the very end of the train. The day was cool with blustery showers and our engine crew was Andy Taylor and Charlie Barber. Andy had previously given me a very good run with on the Great Eastern Main Line so I was expecting some good running. My expectations were far exceeded, as on this day I was to time my first even time runs with steam over consecutive sections since the 6.44am from Kiel to Hamburg on April 24, 1971 behind oil-fired No. 012.001 and my first in GB since No. 34095 on the last Saturday morning of Southern steam on July 8, 1967.

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