Stay of execution for ‘Cromwell’
Stay of execution for Oliver Cromwell as boiler certificate extension expected to be a formality.
Oliver Cromwell’s boiler certificate will almost certainly be extended, meaning that the 1968 end-of-steam celebrity ‘Pacific’ will run on the exact day of the 50th anniversary of the ‘Fifteen Guinea Special’. Having been given a clean bill of health by the boiler inspector following a cold exam on March 20, No. 70013 was expected to have a nine-month extension to its ‘ten-year’ boiler certificate signed off on March 23 after a fully functional steam test, which would keep it in operational condition until the end of 2018. It will be restricted to preserved railway operation only, as it requires a full re-tube before it can venture back onto the national network. As previously reported (SR477), its major overhaul is expected to commence in early 2019. It means that rather than a northbound run over the Settle-Carlisle route – as it did on BR’s last standard gauge passenger train on August 11 1968 – ‘Cromwell’ will be in action at its home, the Great Central Railway, for its own end-of-steam commemorations. The GCR tribute is to take place on August 4/5, 11/12 and will also feature at least one LMS ‘8F’ and ‘Black Five’. Two visits to other preserved lines are also in the pipeline before No. 70013 bows out at the GCR’s ‘Last Hurrah of the Season’ on November 17/18, with the option of continuing to haul trains until December 31 if necessary. The Steam Railway magazine appeal ‘Britannia’ retired from main line charters on March 3, after unhooking from the Railway Touring Company’s ‘Yorkshireman’ at York – a stone’s throw from its parent National Railway Museum – having travelled over the Midland Main Line from Ealing Broadway. Its involvement in the farewell train went to the wire as heavy snowfall wreaked havoc with its engine and support coach move from Norwich (where the locomotive had been previously failed – see separate story) before the engine’s 5305LA support crew had to battle against sub-zero temperatures to keep the locomotive’s injectors and other pipework from freezing. With makeshift braziers deployed, and the all-clear received from Network Rail to run the train in spite of a number of cancelled services, No. 70013 completed its main line stint, that began in 2008, as advertised. “We had a cracking run up Sharnbrook and through the Erewash Valley,” 5305LA chairman Tom Tighe told Steam Railway, “and we rolled into York a minute early. It went out in style”. ‘Cromwell’s’ farewell train also benefitted a number of stranded
Oliver Cromwell rolls into York on March 3, just shy of a full ten years since it ran on the main line for the first time in preservation.
Back in the north of England, National Collection ‘Britannia’ No. 70013 powers up the gradient towards Ingrow on the first day of the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway’s gala.