Update Monday 2nd May. By Jon Tooke, Graham Perry and Peter Nicholson.
Several major events took place over the weekend.
On the WSR D832 had one of its last runs before returning the East Lancs Railway. The loco will appear at the gala in June. Jon Tooke tells us about Saturday.
Saturday saw one of the last booked runs of the Warship on a WSR service train before it returns to the ELR at Bury. Yours truly had the honour (and it truly was) of being the secondman with Neil McCannon as the driver.
We started off from WN with the class 33 in tow because the Crompton had to go down to the Compound at BL so that new brake blocks could be fitted while the loco was over the pit.
Picking up our four coaches from the sidings at BL we rolled into platform 1 and waited departure time of 11:45. Normally this departure sees mum and dad and two children plus a dog and not much more. But not today though! The train was bursting at the seams with standing room only in the leading coach. Word had obviously the word had spread around and the great and the good came to travel behind the Warship for maybe one last time. I understand that some pax had travelled from places as far afield as Southampton, Swindon, Truro and Germany! The guy from Germany actually drives the Warships forefather the V200 on German state railways!
We put up a fitting headcode for the loco of 1M 55 in recognition of the age of the design of the Warship (and not the age of the driver) The other headcode showed one of the last ones carried by this class in BR service that of the Exeter-Waterloo trains.
We chatted for what seemed like hours to so many folk who had turned out to see her, and one gent who was actually part of the BR (WR) Swindon trials team when the loco was new, and he told of many tales of the locos in their early days. He also remembers what we now call the Swindon Shed at its former home when it was referred to as the Crystal Palace because of the large glass windows in the sides and the roof back then!
The weather held all day long and a great day out was had by all.
Meanwhile D7017 has been off on its travels to the Open day at St Philips Marsh Depot in Bristol.
The loco is pictured by Graham Perry at the depot. The very bottom photo shows three of the top team from left to right, John Cronin, Graham and Martin Howard. Thanks to Peter Nicholson for sending us that one.