Cop two 1967 ‘Black Fives’ at Llangollen gala
Two long-scrapped ‘Black Fives’ are to be ‘re-created’ at the Llangollen Railway’s ‘Along Birkenhead Lines’ steam gala on March 3-5. Returning to traffic following winter maintenance and valve repairs, No. 45337 will masquerade as No. 45292 on the Friday and Saturday of the event, before a further identity swap to No. 44680 on the Sunday. Birkenhead (8H) was No. 45292’s last home shed before it was withdrawn on November 5 1967, being stored at Speke Junction before sale to Cashmore’s of Great Bridge on January 1 1968. To play the part of this engine, No. 45337 will be temporarily ‘weathered’ with water-based paints by LR volunteer Iain Ross, as was done for a previous appearance at the railway’s 1960s weekend in 2013. It will then be cleaned to re-create No. 44680, which was in a much more presentable state when it took part in two ‘Farewell to the GWR BirminghamBirkenhead Service’ railtours on March 5 1967, organised by the Stephenson Locomotive Society’s Midland Area. Two more railtours from that weekend will also be recalled during the gala, with ‘re-creations’ of the famous Ian Allan ‘Birkenhead Flyer’ and ‘Zulu’ trips of March 4 1967. These were hauled by Nos. 4079 Pendennis Castle and 7029 Clun Castle respectively - but with no ‘Castle’ available for the gala, their roles will be taken by ‘Modified Hall’ No. 6960 Raveningham Hall from the West Somerset Railway. To give an “express element” to the timetable, says organiser Peter Dickinson, the first train of each day will run non-stop from Llangollen to Carrog. Visiting Stanier ‘8F’ 2-8-0 No. 48624, from the Great Central Railway, will be used to re-create, as accurately as possible, the RCTS ‘Wrexham, Mold & Connah’s Quay Railway Railtour’ of April 29 1967 the last passenger train to pass through Llangollen in BR days. Although the ‘8F’ will not be renumbered as No. 48697, the engine that hauled the original tour, it has been confirmed that blue and grey-liveried Mk 1 Second Corridor No. 16071 can be added to the LR’s maroon rake, to closely resemble the 1967 set. A replica headboard will also be carried. A third guest engine, Ivatt ‘4MT’ 2-6-0 No. 43106, is making its Llangollen debut, but was the last steam locomotive to travel through Wrexham and over the Chester-Shrewsbury line in BR days. Also in steam will be Llangollen-based ‘Large Prairie’ No. 5199, ‘Manor’ No. 7822 Foxcote Manor, and BR ‘4MT’ 2-6-4T No. 80072.