OLIVER CROMWELL LIMPS INTO NOR­WICH AF­TER BIG END FAIL­URE

Steam Railway (UK) - - News | Focus -

Oliver Cromwell’s Great Eastern Main Line swan song ended pre­ma­turely on Fe­bru­ary af­ter the for­mer Nor­wich (32A) en­gine suf­fered a hot big end. Hav­ing melted the whitemetal in the big and ad­join­ing cou­pling rod bear­ings just north of Diss, No. 70013 limped into Nor­wich at re­duced speed on Fe­bru­ary 22 with the ‘Cathe­drals Ex­press’. The train had been billed as the last chance to ex­pe­ri­ence the 1951-built ‘Bri­tan­nia’ on its home patch be­fore re­tir­ing for over­haul (see sep­a­rate story). Adorned with a wreath and 32B shed­plate in hon­our of R.H.N. Hardy, who died four days be­fore, ‘Cromwell’ had been run­ning at its per­mit­ted 75mph limit be­fore a tell­tale ‘knock’ brought the spir­ited run to a halt on the main line. Hav­ing been ef­fec­tively pushed into the Nor­folk city by the Class 47 diesel at­tached to the rear of the train, the 4-6-2 was moved into the sid­ings close to where it was al­lo­cated from new in 1951, for its right-hand side mo­tion to be dis­man­tled. The Steam Dreams Rail Com­pany charter re­turned to Liver­pool Street diesel-hauled. A hastily ar­ranged pick-up truck was dis­patched from the en­gine’s Lough­bor­ough base the same day and re­turned the of­fend­ing rods to Nor­wich three days later fol­low­ing re-met­alling and ma­chin­ing. That wasn’t the end of the drama, as the on­slaught of the ‘Beast from the East’ weather sys­tem de­layed the en­gine’s planned Fe­bru­ary 26 re­turn to Southall de­pot by 48 hours.

NICK BRODRICK/SR

‘Team 70013’: The crew who helped make Oliver Cromwell ready for its mo­tion re­pairs pose with the en­gine at Nor­wich. From left to right: (bot­tom row) Si­mon Hor­robin, Craig St­inch­combe, Char­lie Barber, Jonny John­son, Bill Gwilt, (on en­gine) Pete Hack­ney, John Street, Jim Street and Andrew Too­ley.

NICK BRODRICK/SR

‘Cromwell’s’ mo­tion, part-way through dis­man­tling at Nor­wich on Fe­bru­ary 22.

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