Tea-time date for a thun­der­ing B17

Let's Talk - - POSTBAG -

As an avid sup­porter of steam rail­way preser­va­tion, I thor­oughly en­joyed John Peat’s ex­cel­lent piece (Septem­ber is­sue) about the B17 SLT and its aim to build a work­ing ex­am­ple of this iconic rail­way en­gine.

‘San­dring­hams’ as they were known, were reg­u­lar work-horses on East Anglian met­als in the 1940s and 50s. Jour­ney times be­tween Lon­don Liver­pool Street and Nor­wich were 135 min­utes, just 20 or so min­utes longer than to­day.

As a young­ster in the 1950s, I col­lected rail­way en­gine num­bers at the bot­tom of our gar­den. I still live at the same ad­dress. Around tea-time a B17 would some­times thun­der by. I well re­mem­ber BR 61654 ‘Sun­der­land’ and 61639 ‘Nor­wich City’ sport­ing their foot­ball club colours on the dis­tinc­tive curved name plate just above the cen­tre driv­ing wheels.

These ‘Iron Road’ mon­sters with ten­der weighed in at al­most 130 tons shak­ing the ground and gen­er­ally pulling a rake of nine coaches.

Back to the ar­ti­cle, I am a lit­tle mys­ti­fied with the top pic­ture on page 30, iden­ti­fied as ‘The San­dring­ham.’ How­ever, the smoke box num­ber clearly shows 61500 which tells me it is a B12.

So, are any read­ers able to con­firm this ob­ser­va­tion as cor­rect? The Bri­tish Rail B12 num­ber se­quence was 6150061580, af­fec­tion­ately known as ‘the 1500s.’

The only sur­viv­ing lo­co­mo­tive in this class is the flag­ship en­gine at North Nor­folk Rail­way. She was built in 1928 and re-launched af­ter a rad­i­cal restora­tion pro­gramme in March, 2012. I wish ev­ery­one in­volved at B17 SLT all the very best with the ex­cit­ing project. They will need all the sup­port they can get. Let’s con­trib­ute to make it hap­pen.

The last Bri­tish steam lo­co­mo­tive to be built from scratch was LNER Pep­per­corn class 4-6-2 A1 Pa­cific, ‘Tor­nado’ 60163, even­tu­ally cost­ing £ 3m. It cel­e­brates its 10th birth­day this year and vis­ited North Nor­folk Rail­way in Septem­ber 2012. CHARLES THIRTLE Sher­ing­ham, Nor­folk

The re­splen­dent LNER A1 Pa­cific, ‘Tor­nado’ 60163 at North Nor­folk Rail­way in Septem­ber, 2012

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