5619 STEPS UP AS SWIN­DON SUF­FERS SHORT­AGE

Steam Railway (UK) - - NEWS FOCUS -

GWR ‘56XX’ 0‑6‑2T No. 5619 be­came the Swin­don & Crick­lade Rail­way’s only work­ing steam lo­co­mo­tive in Oc­to­ber, with the fail­ure of both res­i­dent en­gines.

The 0‑6‑2T vis­ited for the line’s 40th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions in Septem­ber, mark­ing four decades since the SCR first took pos­ses­sion of the trackbed at Bluns­don. Its ap­pear­ance, thanks to the Telford Steam Rail­way, proved for­tu­itous when both of the SCR’s own work­ing en­gines – An­drew Bar­clay 0‑6‑0ST Works No. 2138 Sword­fish and Pol­ish 0‑6‑0T No. 3135 ‘Spar­tan’ – failed with in­jec­tor prob­lems and a blow­ing reg­u­la­tor re­spec­tively.

‘Spar­tan’ was im­me­di­ately with­drawn as its boiler cer­tifi­cate was due to ex­pire on Oc­to­ber 31, while Sword­fish also re­quires re­pairs to a leak­ing sad­dle tank. A planned hire of Bag­nall ‘Aus­ter­ity’ 0‑6‑0ST No. 75178 from Bodmin fell through be­cause of trans­port costs, mean­ing that the SCR’s ‘Santa Spe­cials’ will be ‘top and tailed’ by No. 5619 and diesels.

The ‘56XX’ is due to re­main at the SCR un­til April 2019, work­ing foot­plate ex­pe­ri­ence cour­ses as well as nor­mal ser­vices. Its ap­pear­ance re­calls the for­mer long‑term res­i­dency of class­mate No. 5637, which was re­stored from Barry con­di­tion at Bluns­don but is now on the East Som­er­set Rail­way.

SCR spokesman Adrian Thomp­son said: “Plans are be­ing brought for­ward for ‘Spar­tan’s’ strip‑down and re­pairs, and dis­cus­sions are tak­ing place for a new look when it re­turns – some­thing along the lines of a South­ern ‘USA’ tank en­gine.

“An­other sug­ges­tion was to try and hone it into the lines of a ‘15XX’ pan­nier tank, but this was felt to be a step too far. Get­ting the cop­per cap on the chim­ney would cer­tainly have been a chal­lenge.”

AARON CRYAN

Vis­it­ing ‘56XX’ no. 5619 at the Swin­don & Crick­lade Rail­way’s hayes Knoll shed with res­i­dent An­drew Bar­clay 0‑6‑0ST works no. 2138 Sword­fish and Pol­ish ‘TKh’ 0‑6‑0T no. 3135 ‘Spar­tan’.

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