‘MAYFLOWER’ TO SET SAIL AGAIN IN MAY
‘ B1’ No. 61306 ‘Mayflower’ is expected to return to the main line in May – carrying what is described as “effectively a brand new boiler.” It was originally booked to make its debut on a charity railtour in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support on April 15, taking in Stratford, Liverpool Street, Harwich Town and including the first preservationera steam on the Sizewell branch – but was declared out of gauge for the Down platform at Woodbridge. Instead, the tour is expected to go ahead behind a ‘Black Five’. Ironically, Network Rail Senior Media Relations Manager Grete Luxbacher told Steam Railway that a new survey of the platform had removed the restriction on February 28 – but the overhaul of the ‘B1’ was not expected to be complete in time for the charter. Owner David Buck – also the new chairman of Steam Dreams Rail Co. – said that No. 61306, complete with a fresh ‘ten year’ boiler certificate, would take up a place in SDRCo’s ‘Cathedrals Express’ programme in May. The Thompson 4-6-0’s boiler has undergone hydraulic and steam tests at Carnforth, having been extensively rebuilt by Northern Steam Engineering (formerly Adam Dalgleish Engineering) since the locomotive was withdrawn in December 2015. The boiler has received a new front tubeplate, front barrel section and firebox throatplate, partial replacement of the centre barrel section, firebox backplate and side sheets, repairs to the copper inner firebox and foundation ring, new crown stays and safety valves, new flue tubes and superheater elements, and refurbishment of the superheater header. At Carnforth, the engine has been fitted with new cylinder and valve liners and the axleboxes have been re-metalled, while the tender has received a spare set of wheelsets with thicker tyres. When asked to reveal how much the overhaul had cost, Mr Buck replied: “No.”
Thompson ‘B1’ No. 61306 approaches Swindon at Highworth Junction with a St David’s Day ‘Cathedrals Express’ from Paddington to Cardiff on March 1 2015.