NINE BULLEIDS TO BE IN STEAM ON JULY 9!
… and the biggest sr ‘pacific’ tally for 50 years could increase to TeN.
Atotal of nine Bulleid ‘Pacifics’ will be in steam on July 9 2017 - the largest number to steam on the same day since the curtain came down on Southern Region steam, half a century ago. Fifty years to the day after the CME’s ‘Merchant Navy’, ‘West Country’ and ‘Battle of Britain’ class 4-6-2s marked the end of Southern Region steam, nine preserved examples will be in operation across the country in commemoration of BR steam’s finale in the south. It comes just after the Swanage Railway’s record-breaking Bulleid festival on March 31-April 2 (see page 94 for the full report). ‘Merchant Navy’ No. 35028 Clan Line will be hauling the ‘Waterloo Sunset’ on behalf of UK Railtours. The ‘8P’ 4-6-2 will travel from London Waterloo to Sherbourne and Yeovil, returning to the capital via the Portsmouth Direct line. No. 35028 won’t be the only ‘Merchant Navy’ in steam on the day, as classmate No. 35006 Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co. will be attending the Mid-Hants Railway’s ‘Summer Steam Gala’ on July 1/2 and 7-9. ‘P&O’ will be joined by three ‘Light Pacifics’ at the event - ‘Battle of Britain’ Nos. 34053 Sir Keith Park and 34081 92 Squadron, and ‘West Country’ No. 34046 Braunton, which will remain in its current guise as ‘BB’ No. 34052 Lord Dowding. The ‘Watercress Line’ isn’t the only preserved railway commemorating the anniversary, as the Swanage Railway will have both its resident Bulleid ‘Pacifics’ in steam - original ‘BBs’ Nos. 34070 Manston and 34072 257 Squadron. The latter is nearing the end of its overhaul, with only the ‘Spam Can’ casing left to be fitted and paintwork completed before the ‘Battle of Britain’ returns to traffic (see ‘Roster’, page 32). Joining in the celebrations is the Bluebell Railway, which is hosting air-smoothed ‘West Country’ No. 34092 City of Wells. It will be only the second time the Giesl ejector-fitted ‘Volcano’ has run on its former home region since 1988, the first having been at the Swanage Railway’s ‘Strictly Bulleid’ gala. The Severn Valley Railway is also planning to host a “low-key” celebration, and plans to have rebuilt ‘WC’ No. 34027 Taw Valley in steam - the only one to be steaming on that date away from the Southern Region. David Smith’s ‘MN’ No. 35018 British India Line is also in with a shout of making the date, and would therefore bring the tally to ten, although it has yet to be finally commissioned at Carnforth following its restoration from Barry condition. No specific main line charters have been publicly announced for the engine. ●● See ‘Myriad Merchants’ on page 76.
recreates an exchange working frequently seen on South Devon metals in the 1940s, as it crosses Oldbury Viaduct on the Severn Valley Railway, on March 20. 92 Squadron DAVE BOWLES