Tea-time date for a thundering B17
As an avid supporter of steam railway preservation, I thoroughly enjoyed John Peat’s excellent piece (September issue) about the B17 SLT and its aim to build a working example of this iconic railway engine.
‘Sandringhams’ as they were known, were regular work-horses on East Anglian metals in the 1940s and 50s. Journey times between London Liverpool Street and Norwich were 135 minutes, just 20 or so minutes longer than today.
As a youngster in the 1950s, I collected railway engine numbers at the bottom of our garden. I still live at the same address. Around tea-time a B17 would sometimes thunder by. I well remember BR 61654 ‘Sunderland’ and 61639 ‘Norwich City’ sporting their football club colours on the distinctive curved name plate just above the centre driving wheels.
These ‘Iron Road’ monsters with tender weighed in at almost 130 tons shaking the ground and generally pulling a rake of nine coaches.
Back to the article, I am a little mystified with the top picture on page 30, identified as ‘The Sandringham.’ However, the smoke box number clearly shows 61500 which tells me it is a B12.
So, are any readers able to confirm this observation as correct? The British Rail B12 number sequence was 6150061580, affectionately known as ‘the 1500s.’
The only surviving locomotive in this class is the flagship engine at North Norfolk Railway. She was built in 1928 and re-launched after a radical restoration programme in March, 2012. I wish everyone involved at B17 SLT all the very best with the exciting project. They will need all the support they can get. Let’s contribute to make it happen.
The last British steam locomotive to be built from scratch was LNER Peppercorn class 4-6-2 A1 Pacific, ‘Tornado’ 60163, eventually costing £ 3m. It celebrates its 10th birthday this year and visited North Norfolk Railway in September 2012. CHARLES THIRTLE Sheringham, Norfolk
The resplendent LNER A1 Pacific, ‘Tornado’ 60163 at North Norfolk Railway in September, 2012