Two ‘Kings’ for the main line? NRM’s ‘Scots­man’ re­sponses IoW ‘E1’ to be over­hauled Bridg­north share is­sue launched End-of-the-sea­son galas

NOS. 6023 King Ed­ward II and 6024 King Ed­ward I - the Great Western top link pair con­signed to Barry scrap­yard over half a cen­tury ago - could both be back on main line ex­press du­ties in 2017.

As the re­assem­bly of Jeremy Hosk­ing’s ‘KEI’ gath­ers pace at the West Som­er­set Rail­way, the Great Western So­ci­ety has an­nounced another de­ter­mined at­tempt to get its blue ‘KEII’ into ser­vice in the com­ing months. By co­in­ci­dence, it is also ear­marked for tri­als on the WSR be­fore be­ing re­leased onto Net­work Rail me­tals. Time is not on No. 6023’s side be­cause the en­gine is half­way through its boiler ticket and, so far, it has only run tri­als on pre­served lines, no­tably the Great Cen­tral and Mid-Nor­folk at the be­gin­ning of the decade. King Ed­ward II ran for the first time in preser­va­tion in 2011, but on­go­ing work con­tin­ues to frus­trate the GWS. How­ever, Chair­man Richard Croucher has con­firmed to Steam Rail­way that Train Pro­tec­tion & Warn­ing Sys­tem gear and an On Train Mon­i­tor­ing Recorder have now been fit­ted to the Swin­don 4-6-0, and are await­ing tri­als. “We’ve ap­proached the West Som­er­set with a view to test­ing it there,” Mr Croucher told the magazine. “We’ve not come to a fi­nal agree­ment yet, but we’re hope­ful.” He said the move of the blue ‘60XX’ could take place in Fe­bru­ary or March. It is has now been some time since a ‘King’ was been seen at speed, as No. 6024 was re­tired on March 17 2012, while No. 6023 has never run on the main line in preser­va­tion. Class pi­o­neer No. 6000 King Ge­orge V is on static dis­play at STEAM, Swin­don. Re­cent work on No. 6023 at Did­cot has con­cen­trated not only on fit­ting of manda­tory elec­tronic safety equip­ment, but also try­ing mod­i­fied draugh­t­ing to cope with the lo­co­mo­tive’s 4in height re­duc­tion, to al­low it to run on Net­work Rail track. This has in­cluded fit­ting a blast­pipe to a new de­sign. Mr Croucher said: “I think the new blast­pipe cost £400 or £500. The fig­ure is not large, but it has cost us a lot in terms of time.” He also said that the lo­co­mo­tive is now likely to re­tain its BR blue liv­ery - orig­i­nally planned to be car­ried for two years - for the im­me­di­ate fu­ture. Mean­while, the over­haul of No. 6024 - which will be painted BR green con­tin­ues in Mine­head’s work­shops, where the new cylin­ders have been bolted to the frames. The wheelsets are due for de­liv­ery from Ian Riley at Hey­wood, where the boiler is also be­ing worked on. Jeremy Hosk­ing’s Royal Scot Lo­co­mo­tive & Gen­eral Trust web­site con­fi­dently states the en­gine’s re­turn as be­ing in 2017, but spokesman Peter Green­wood told Steam Rail­way: “It’s our in­ten­tion to have it ready for the end of the year, but we have to be re­al­is­tic… there could well be some slip­page.” ❚❚Chang­ing its bark to re­gain a bite? Read more about No. 6023 in Down Main, on page 84.


Nos. 6023 King Ed­ward II and 6024 King Ed­ward I at Did­cot on April 23 2011.

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