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It may have been de­scribed as a “needy mistress” by Lo­co­mo­tive Ser­vices’ Manag­ing Di­rec­tor Tony Bush, but Bri­tan­nia is now back in ac­tion. As you read this, the Rid­dles ‘7MT’ should have just hauled its first tour in about three years – De­cem­ber 2’s ‘Welsh Bor­ders Ex­plorer’. A se­cond tour with No. 70000, the ‘Pen­nine Moors Ex­plorer’ tak­ing in Copy Pit, closes Saphos Trains’ first sea­son on De­cem­ber 8. Both of those trains start from Crewe, within sight of ‘home base’ at the Cheshire town’s for­mer diesel de­pot.

That fol­lows a spell in Crewe’s paint shop for a go­ing over in the BR green, this time with the later crest; tri­als on a Shrews­bury and Ch­ester cir­cuit on Oc­to­ber 23; and a run­ning-in and pub­lic trip to the Sev­ern Val­ley be­fore that.

The re­built ‘Brit’ is now de­scribed by Tony as “very strong” – and adds use­ful ex­tra ‘Top Link’ power along­side Royal Scot and Braun­ton. With all that’s been done, it’s hoped the Stan­dard 4-6-2 will now be able to work through to sum­mer 2020, when boiler work will be­come due.


Bri­tan­nia, fresh out of the paint shop at Crewe, on Novem­ber 19.

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