A MOVING MOMENT
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.