At this time of year, with the leaves turning and the days getting shorter we all start to feel nostalgic. We also turn our thoughts to Remembrance Sunday or Armistice Day, the day on which we as a nation honour the fallen in battle. I’m sure that most of you will already have bought a poppy and worn one with pride in honour of the fallen, but if by some oversight you haven’t bought one yet, please do so before the 11th. You are probably wondering why this news update on the 5305 Locomotive Association website has suddenly developed a highly unexpected turn and begun talking about Poppies. Well, this year is the 100th anniversary of the Territorial Army. On the 50th Anniversary of the TA British Railways named a Britannia locomotive to honour the service: “The Territorial Army 1908 to 1958”. This year, to celebrate the anniversary, Oliver Cromwell has been temporarily renamed as sister locomotive 70048 “The Territorial Army”. Because the original locomotive name included the dates for the 50th anniversary, this time the locomotive is carrying paired plates, one on either side of the engine. One says “1908 to 2008” and the other “1908 to 1958”.
The actual re-naming ceremony took place on Saturday the 8th of November at Quorn & Woodhouse Station.
The event was attended by the Duke of Gloucester, (the man, not the locomotive) and by the Territorial Army. It was mostly invited guests only and security was tight because of the royal visitor. The event went very well, it included a run past by 5690 on the mail drop and was followed by a royal dining train with 70048 as the motive power.
On Sunday 70048 “The Territorial Army” was dressed for the occasion with a wreath of poppies on the smokebox door and was in the station at Loughborough for a short ceremony of remembrance with an address by Warrant Officer 1st Class Mike Sedgley MSM RN (Rtd), who then had a trip on the footplate to Leicester North and back. The weather in the morning was perfect – a lovely clear autumn day with enough leaves still on the trees to give beautiful golden colour everywhere and more leaves on the ballast which swirled around in the down draught from passing trains. Fortunately the weather held good until well after the 11am silence, but it deteriorated badly in the afternoon. By tea time it was raining stair rods and anyone outside was soaked to the skin in a very short time.
Cromwell was polished and painted to a high gloss. The nameplates are huge; because of the dates they run to two lines, and with a red background they really stand out on the smoke deflectors. The poppy wreath on the smokebox on Sunday set off the locomotive brilliantly and underlined the sombre reason for the shiny loco and new paint, but without being overly oppressive. The crew were well turned out, with poppies in place and clean overalls. On Rembrance Sunday an instruction in the notice case at signing on had ensured that all volunteers for the day were aware that they needed poppies and anyone who’d forgotten to bring a poppy ready was able to make a donation for one at the booking office. Even the volunteers and staff on shed were wearing theirs with pride – albeit rather grubby by the end of a day in the shed.
Other news this week is of major progress in the support coach; the rain in the afternoon may have helped because the volunteers in the coach were penned in and unwilling to leave the dry coach to go in search of tea. After a slow start while decisions were made and all the bits and pieces assembled, they have begun fitting some seats in compartment 1 and 2 and making final decisions about which seats would be Mark 2 (comfortable for sitting on during trips, but lousy for sleeping) and Mark 1 (better for sleeping, but take more fitting).
By Info | Monday, November 10, 2008 | Tags : 70013