Steam Railway (UK) - - GALLERY -

At what point should a Barry lo­co­mo­tive be con­sid­ered to have ‘re­turned to steam’?

A case could be made for the first fire be­ing lit, the first in-frames boiler steam test, or the lo­co­mo­tive haul­ing its first train. How­ever, for most lo­co­mo­tives in the past – and cer­tainly for re­cent restora­tions such as Wightwick Hall and No. 80097 – Steam Rail­way has de­fined the magic mo­ment as be­ing when the lo­co­mo­tive moves un­der its own steam for the first time.

‘West Coun­try’ No. 34046 Braun­ton, for in­stance, is there­fore placed in 2007, although the dis­cov­ery of a flawed axle meant that it was not launched into traf­fic un­til the fol­low­ing year.

For the pur­poses of this sur­vey, such a def­i­ni­tion threw up a few ques­tion marks, most no­tably the Keigh­ley & Worth Val­ley Rail­way’s ‘8F’ No. 48431. Although listed in The Barry Lo­co­mo­tive Phenomenon as hav­ing steamed in 1974, our graph places it in 1975 be­cause, ac­cord­ing to long-serv­ing vol­un­teer Ralph Ing­ham: “Our house mag­a­zine

Push and Pull first men­tions it steam­ing in the Spring 1975 edi­tion, with a pic­ture of it hav­ing a trial run up Haworth loop, sans boiler cladding, on Jan­uary 1 1975.

“It re­turned to traf­fic nearly 12 months later with the Santa Spe­cials. I was the first fire­man to take it, with Driver John Mor­ris, dou­ble­head­ing with WD 2-8-0 No. 1931 on a ‘Santa’ that had come off BR.

“With money tight, the ‘8F’ had been put to­gether, as oth­ers were at the time, on a shoe­string bud­get mak­ing best use of the life left in the com­po­nents, so we de­scribed it then as be­ing in ‘rat­tling good or­der’. None­the­less, it steamed like a witch and the in­jec­tors worked OK, so from a young fire­man’s point of view, what was there not to like?”


The 149th Barry en­gine to steam, BR ‘4MT’ 2-6-4T No. 80097 moves off Bury shed for the first time on Oc­to­ber 18.

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