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Oliver Cromwell made pilgrimage to Canterbury this week, via the Weald of Kent, which is, in my humble opinion, one of the best bits of countryside that God ever made. (Yes, we are a Yorkshire charity, and most of the movers and shakers in the Association are Yorkshiremen, but us Southerners do have to fly the flag for the Garden of England).

Cromwell was looking bright and shiny when she left Southall Depot on Wednesday morning at 9am, and attracted a lot of visitors on her arrival in Victoria.

One of her, no, sorry! Her most important visitor was Dick Hardy who was joining us for the trip to Canterbury, and arrived bearing gifts for the support crew – tea, coffee, biscuits etc. He is always very generous with such supplies when he visits a support coach, but would be just as welcome if he brought only himself and the vast store of knowledge he carries around in his head.

The facilities for servicing the engine at Canterbury West were first class, we had use of an un-electrified siding, with access for Bells & Two Tones’s hoses through the fence (thanks John!) – the traffic through the fence was actually two way, he supplies water for the engine and we supply tea.

We were also able to take coal from a lorry with a grab.


The photo below was sent in by Andy Wilson, the Mobile Operations Manager for the area, who was up on the Signal Box gantry overseeing the operation.

The servicing arrangements at Canterbury were thanks to Andy Wilson, the MOM, who was friendly, helpful and above all, knowledgeable about steam. His briefing was excellent and his organisation was spot on, it was a pleasure to work with him. I understand that 70013 was the first Britannia ever to visit Canterbury West (unless anyone out there knows differently), so here is a photo to prove that she did it.  (You can't fake a signal box like that!)

The only thing that marred the visit really was seeing just what a lot of dirt had fallen on the top of the loco during the journey, the safety valves had lifted inside a tunnel and the result was ... um... unprintable.

We managed to clean off the worst before continuing the journey.

We left the service siding bang on the time specified by the MOM, and went to stand in the down loop to wait for the platform. 

Leaving Canterbury Andy Wilson, said that he’d never been up there so fast behind a steam loco, another Brit convert!

Sadly, that was the last of the Brit’s booked main line workings this year. But we are already working on the programme for next year’s tours, in conjunction with the operating partnership, so keep an eye on the site for details of future trips.


By Info | Thursday, September 25, 2008 | Tags : 70013

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