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By Peter Maynard

Last Friday’s job for the ‘Five’ was an unusual one by anyone’s standards. Pick up passengers at Kensington Olympia just after 6.00 am, then a tour of North Kent – Chatham, Ramsgate, Canterbury, Ashford, Sevenoaks – and into London Victoria just after mid-day. But this was ‘The Kent Sunrise’, effectively the first leg of Steam Dreams’ marathon eight-day ‘Cathedrals Explorer’ tour of Britain.

And it was an unexpected job for us, No. 45305 being a late substitute for Tangmere. But, pleased to have the opportunity (and the revenue), we were able to put together a support crew at very short notice and rise to the challenge in our traditional fashion. 

Two of 5305la's support crew discuss the day ahead.

Just a morning out this may have been, but it was quite a test for the engine: negotiating the complexities of the London suburbs, keeping out of the way of ‘Javelins’ and ‘Electrostars’, and dealing, over a significant proportion of the route, with quite a switchback of short climbs and dips – plus the long, heavy slogs up to Sevenoaks and Knockholt on the journey home. But the ‘Five’ and her crew were well up to the job, capably handling the load of 11 vehicles. No wonder London Midland enginemen used to say “With a ‘Five’ you knew you’d get the job done.” 

Fireman Dean Morris, with our support crew member Bill Gwilt in the background.

At Victoria No. 6201 Princess Elizabeth came on the back to take ‘The Cathedrals Explorer’ on its next leg to York, and we banked the train out of Vic up the incline to Grosvenor Bridge, coming off at ‘Kenny O’, from where we made our way light engine back to Southall.

So, off Southall at 4.50 am (actually not especially early by steam standards), yet back at the wholly civilised (and almost unheard of) time of 14.15 after 170 miles of steam. Nice one!

In addition to Peter’s report, we also had some photos from Ashford Mobile Operations Manager Andy Wilson an old friend of ours, who has organised more steam movements in Kent than most people can imagine. As well as sending the photos themselves, Andy supplied captions; We were particularly pleased with the caption to the first photo: “45305 arriving at Minster, superbly turned out, driven and fired. With regard to the dry weather conditions of late there was a high risk element, but due to the careful handling of the locomotive it resulted in a successful trouble free run.” High praise indeed from the man who would have had some explaining to do if 45305 had suffered a line-side fire.

45305 arrives at Minster to collect the passengers for the Cathedrals Explorer. 

45305 has got the road, but waits patiently for the guards whistle and a wave from his green flag.


By Info | Sunday, May 8, 2011 | Tags : 45305

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