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.