‘U-BOAT’ SLIPS HARBOUR… 31806 PREPARES FOR MAIN LINE DEBUT
So, the ‘U-Boat’… if everything’s gone to plan, a key stage in one of the most anticipated smallish-engine returns for years will already have happened when you read this. I’m talking about ‘Mogul’ No. 31806 proving itself by stretching its legs across the Southern. The Maunsell engine was expected to venture onto the network in the week after the Swanage Railway’s gala on March 23-25, for a day of trials expected to take it round Dorset, hauling some of the ‘Purbeck Line’s’ Mk 1s, with Class 33 No. D6515 (33012) ‘top-and-tailing’. These preparations set No. 31806 up for its role in this year’s ‘Great Britain’ in late April. With that, it becomes only the second ‘U’ to run on the network in preservation – the other having been No. 31625 around 20 years ago. As for No. 31806, it last did that in 1964.