The NRM’s pacific No. 70013 “Oliver Cromwell” went to Skegness last weekend with “The Jolly Fisherman” railtour for Railway Touring Company www.railwaytouring.co.uk. The trip went well, with the Brit arriving 45 minutes early. However operational issues meant that it took all of the available time to service the engine, so those 45 minutes came in very handy. The trip was slightly marred when the engineering team noticed minor issues in the firebox. There were also rumours of fire risk after the recent dry weather, therefore, in light of her forthcoming workload and the recent repairs, the engineers discussed the matter with the West Coast crew and decided that it would be prudent to use the diesel to pilot the train back to London, as in the unlikely event of either minor issue becoming a problem both the Association and the TOC would be justly criticised for not having taken the obvious precaution, especially given that the Class 37 was there anyway. However the engine worked her passage on the way home, often pushing the diesel, and, in Tom’s words: “Making a splendid noise up Stoke Bank”. The fettling to the firebox has already begun (indeed it may well have been finished by the time I’m typing this) and the engine is expected to work her booked trips. Including the Spitfire (London to Faversham) trip for Shepherd Neame on the 22nd of May see http://www.shepherdneame.co.uk/shop/c-20-steam-trains.aspx for details of the trip, and then browse their website for details of their fine Kentish Ales. Shepherd Neame have been very generous to the association in recent months; they made a donation towards the recent firebox repairs on 70013 and have been very supportive while the engine was out of traffic, plus they brew very good beer. And they are based in Kent, the Garden of England.
Meanwhile at Loughborough on Sunday Peter Maynard heroically spent the entire day scraping the underside of 17055. He’d emailed earlier in the week to offer his services and willingly undertook the job he was asked to do, despite the fact that it was both unpleasantly dusty and lonely – it is very difficult to have a conversation when you are wearing a dust mask & goggles and everyone else is keeping away from the resulting clouds of dust. Thanks Peter! We did make him a cup of tea though, honest!
Kevin returned early from the Skegness trip so that he could finish fettling 45305 ready for her imminent departure from Loughborough.
I did have a couple of photos of the work at Loughborough to share with you, but my computer is unwell at present, and I’m having to borrow one to post this report – sorry for the delay in getting the news up.