DEAL OF A DECADE: ‘DUKE’ GROUP AND TY­SE­LEY TEAM UP FOR RAIL­TOURS

Steam Railway (UK) - - News | Focus -

Duke of Glouces­ter is to be based at Ty­se­ley for its next ten-year ‘ticket’. The unique BR ‘8P’ is to run with the new Vin­tage Trains Ltd as its “pri­mary op­er­a­tor”, with Ty­se­ley also to be the main pro­moter of No. 71000’s rail­tours. Cur­rently un­der over­haul in the Birm­ing­ham cen­tre’s work­shops, the Rid­dles ‘Pacific’ is ex­pected to steam next year. Among other ap­pear­ances, the 1954-built ‘Duke’ is ex­pected to take a place on VTL’s sum­mer re­peat-itin­er­ary ‘Shake­speare Ex­press’ trains from Birm­ing­ham to Strat­ford-upon-Avon. VTL Com­mer­cial Man­ager Ben Ma­son said that No. 71000 would be used on around 12 Ty­se­ley trains per year, in­clud­ing ‘Welsh Marches’, ‘Cotswold Ex­press’ and ‘Cum­brian Ex­press’ trains. The BR Stan­dard, he said, “will add an­other di­men­sion and va­ri­ety to Ty­se­ley’s ex­pand­ing fam­ily” of lo­co­mo­tives, and added: “We look for­ward to a long and happy part­ner­ship.” Trevor Tuck­ley, chair­man of No. 71000’s cus­to­dian the BR Class 8 Steam Lo­co­mo­tive Trust, said “there are syn­er­gies be­tween the trust and Vin­tage Trains that can be used to the ben­e­fit of both” and that the Crewe-built 4-6-2 “will be best show­cased and ap­pre­ci­ated as a re­sult of this agree­ment.” In ad­di­tion to main line tours, the three-cylin­der ‘Duke’ is ex­pected to ap­pear at pre­served lines with a con­nec­tion to the na­tional net­work, as well as Ty­se­ley’s open days. Duke of Glouces­ter has not run since Au­gust 2012, when it failed and was taken off a Tor­bay Ex­press Ltd train at Eastleigh (SR406). Ty­se­ley is part-way through a share is­sue to raise funds to sup­port the new Vin­tage Trains Ltd, which is in­tended to be its in-house train op­er­a­tor (see pages 98-99).

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