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70013 “Oliver Cromwell” spent the weekend on the 6th, 7th & 8th of March starring at the Severn Valley Railway’s “Festival of Steam”. Cromwell proved to be a big favourite, both with the visitors and with the SVR footplate crews. Comments such as “Do you think we can keep this one?”, “A lovely machine” and “Thank you for bringing your engine” were music to our ears (it would have been churlish to respond to that last with “Actually she belongs to the NRM”, so we took it in the spirit it was meant).

Thanks to Simon Cheeseman for sending in his photos.

The staff and volunteers of the SVR were very welcoming, friendly and helpful and the railway itself is a delight. I had forgotten just how pretty the line is, particularly with the primroses and daffodils just coming into bloom on the lineside, and Buzzards in the sky above the line.

After the excitement of the gala, we spent Monday preparing Cromwell for her light engine trip from Kidderminster to Southall ready for next weekend’s trip to Folkestone Harbour for the Railway Touring Club (

Taking coal ready for the trip,  (Peter Maynard)

During preparation for the light engine trip Cromwell was stabled next to possibly one of the strangest engines she has ever come into contact with; a replica of “Catch Me Who Can” which is being built at Bridgenorth because the original was built there. This replica spent much of the gala running stationary on axle blocks. The replica isn’t finished yet, but it was very interesting to contrast one of the oldest designs of steam locomotive with one of the latest.

The SVR have the builders in at Bridgenorth Shed; they are fitting new doors and various other tasks. As a result the shed staff are having to work round assorted forklifts, cherry pickers, excavations and steelwork, so the presence of 70013 on the big pit for most of Monday did make life a little more tricky than usual for the SVR. Despite this, the staff and volunteers were both helpful and friendly. Particular thanks go to Mark and Dave for their help. (Sorry, I don’t have your surnames).

70013 coming through the station to pick up the support coach ready to leave the SVR.

The light engine move was booked to leave Kidderminster at 19.15 so although we went down the branch in the daylight (thanks to Gary & Bob for working us down the line), we went on to Network Rail in the dark, and spent the next five hours travelling through the night with the support coach, arriving safely at Southall depot at about quarter past midnight. ‘Engine and Van’ moves are different from working a train; A quick glance at the timings for an engine and van move shows that we often use freight lines and tend to find ourselves spending a fair amount of time waiting for the road at junctions and stations, but it’s part of the job, and at least we can say that we have ‘our own train’ even if it is just one coach!

Cromwell has a couple of days off now, but the job starts again later in the week with preparation for Saturday’s trip to Kent.



By Info | Tuesday, March 10, 2009 | Tags : 70013

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