… and the big­gest sr ‘pacific’ tally for 50 years could in­crease to TeN.

Steam Railway (UK) - - News - EXCLUSIVE BY THOMAS BRIGHT

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

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