JAN­UARY ‘HOME­COM­ING’ FOR SIR KEITH PARK

‘Bat­tle of Bri­tain’ No. 34053 will be back on the South­ern in the New Year.

Steam Railway (UK) - - News | Focus -

Re­built ‘Bat­tle of Bri­tain’ No. 34053 Sir Keith Park is leav­ing its long-term home of the Sev­ern Val­ley Rail­way (SVR) to take up per­ma­nent res­i­dence at the Swan­age Rail­way in Jan­uary. The news came just days af­ter air-smoothed class­mate No. 34072 257 Squadron left Her­ston Works on the ‘Purbeck Line’ on Au­gust 21 for fi­nal de­liv­ery to Nor­den, ahead of its long-awaited re­turn to traf­fic fol­low­ing over­haul (see be­low). Si­mon Troy, chair­man of South­ern Lo­co­mo­tives Ltd (SSL), which owns ‘Sir Keith’, said: “We had been ad­vised that its use would al­most cer­tainly di­min­ish over the next five years as more lo­co­mo­tives en­tered traf­fic, and we were con­cerned that the SVR could give no guar­an­tee re­gard­ing its ‘ten-yearly’ over­haul in 2022.” It will be the first time the ‘BB’ has been based at Swan­age since it was re­stored there in 2012, hav­ing been an SVR res­i­dent for the last five years. The lo­co­mo­tive hauled its first rev­enue-earn­ing trains on the ten-mile branch ear­lier this year at the rail­way’s ‘Strictly Bulleid’ gala on March 31-April 2. The Swan­age Rail­way will soon be home to four ‘Light Pacifics’, as in ad­di­tion to Nos. 34053 and 34072, ‘West Coun­try’ No. 34028 Eddystone and ‘BB’ No. 34070 Manston will be back in traf­fic within a cou­ple of years. The SLL-owned quar­tet means the ‘Purbeck Line’ will field more work­ing Bulleid ‘Pacifics’ than any other pre­served rail­way. Eddystone is cur­rently un­der over­haul and it is un­der­stood the boiler (cur­rently at Buck­fastleigh) and frames (at Ty­se­ley) will be re­united in the late au­tumn so the lo­co­mo­tive can be re­assem­bled dur­ing 2018. Manston was pre­ma­turely with­drawn fol­low­ing a shunt­ing col­li­sion at Swan­age on July 24 (see SR470) and de­spite hav­ing had its boiler ticket ex­tended to July 2018, is now un­der­go­ing its ‘ten-yearly’ over­haul. Any­one buy­ing a share in SLL for the up-front cost of £250, or stand­ing or­der to help Manston, will re­ceive the new Richard Green (Lo­cos in Pro­file) print of No. 34070 and, like all share­hold­ers, will be of­fered a chance to drive and fire at Swan­age, with new share­hold­ers get­ting pri­or­ity. The boiler for SLL’s fifth ‘Pa­cific’, No. 34010 Sid­mouth, will also shortly de­part Bridg­north for North­ern Steam En­gi­neer­ing in Stock­ton-on-Tees for over­haul.

COLIN BAR­RATT

To be­come a reg­u­lar sight from Jan­uary: No. 34053 Sir Keith Park de­parts Swan­age at the rail­way’s ‘Strictly Bulleid’ gala on April 2 with a demon­stra­tion goods train.

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