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Cromwell Flies Along With The Spitfire

Here is a report from a member of our support crew, with pictures and captions kindly supplied by the Ashford MOM Andy Wilson.  Many thanks to both for their contributions.

Last Sunday, 22nd May, 70013 Oliver Cromwell worked a railtour from Victoria to Faversham sponsored by Shepherd Neame and aptly named The Spitfire after the brewery's popular flagship beer. Leaving Victoria at 10.00 after an unusual route with the empty stock from Southall via Kew due to engineering works, the loco powered the train through Herne Hill, Bromley South (pick up), Maidstone East, Ashford, Dover and Canterbury East to Faversham, headquarters of Shepherd Neame. The undulating nature of the route, with some steep climbs, caused the 'Brit' to move into familiar 'barking' mode, much to the enjoyment of passengers and linesiders.

A 'charter within a charter' was then completed with a run to Sheerness and back, a Class 37 diesel being used between Gillingham and Sheerness to help turn the train. With most charters starting in London this gave the locals a rare chance to ride behind steam on their own patch.

70013 retracted its steps back to the capital at 18.00, repeating its storming progress and high decibel output. An on time arrival back at Victoria put an end to a very satisfactory day. There were plenty of complimentary comments from passengers and Shepherd Neame staff. Cromwell may get invited back for a repeat performance in the future, an invitation that will be taken up with gusto! 

This pic is of the class 37 waiting in Up siding No1 at Faversham - taken from the box soon to be decommissioned (Christmas) the 37 is waiting for the outward steam hauled service from Victoria to arrive in platform 2 at Faversham, the 37 will then attach to the rear of the train to T&T it round the triangle at Sittingbourne. Of interest too is the shed in the background which is the remains of Faversham Loco shed 

Here is 70013 in platform 4 at Faversham prior to the departure with a train full of passengers to Gillingham (I understand all seats were sold), it had previously been serviced in the Down Yard. 

Another superbly turned out loco in Down siding No 1 at Faversham after bringing the train down from Victoria. The support crew are seen carrying out their allotted tasks. It is always a race against the clock to get the steam locos ready for their next working and it's my job to see these timings are adhered to, today was no exception and as always the support crew rises to the challenge. The loco was despatched to the train in the station, recoupled and departed for Gillingham bang on time. 

Taking water in the Down Reception at Faversham. Crew taking a rest also. 

On the return from Sittingbourne, the support coach was left with the train and the loco proceeded to the Down sidings at Faversham for water.


By Info | Tuesday, May 24, 2011 | Tags : 70013

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