Historic Locomotive to haul trains in Purbeck during half term week

Historic Locomotive to haul trains in Purbeck during half term week

Caption: Photo by Andrew PM Wright

History, Purbeck | Posted: Friday, October 19th, 2018 at 1:20 pm | return to news

Historic Locomotive to haul trains in Purbeck during half term week

An historic main line steam locomotive that headed the last British Rail steam train 50 years ago is to haul passenger trains between Norden, Corfe Castle, Harman’s Cross, Herston and Swanage during the forthcoming Half Term Week.

Historic Locomotive to haul trains in Purbeck during half term week

Caption: Photo by Andrew PM Wright

Built in 1945, the powerful 74-ton London Midland and Scottish Railway Stanier ‘Black 5’ class No 44871 will be operating on the Swanage Railway from 20 October to 27 October. It will be hauling six trains a day in each direction – six trains from Norden station and six trains from Swanage station.

As well as this, on 28 October No 44871 will be hauling the Swanage Railway’s popular ‘Dorsetman’ Sunday lunch train.

The main line certificated 4-6-0 wheel arrangement steam locomotive – which is based on the East Lancashire Railway and hauls excursion trains on the national railway system – took part in the Swanage Railway’s recent three-day, eight locomotive Autumn Steam Gala which attracted visitors from across the country.

No 44871 made history 50 years ago when it helped to haul the famous ‘Fifteen Guinea Special’ end of steam train between Liverpool, Manchester and Carlisle in August, 1968 – the last steam-hauled passenger train run by British Rail – with tickets costing 15 guineas.

Swanage Railway Company executive chairman Trevor Parsons said, “It is very exciting to have such a special piece of national railway history from half a century ago haul passenger trains on the Swanage Railway.

“We are very grateful indeed to the locomotive’s owner – Riley and Son (E) Limited – for allowing us to continue to use the ‘Black 5’ after its popular appearance at our recent Autumn Steam Gala. It is a lovely locomotive and it is a real privilege for our footplate crews to work on her.

“Fifty years ago, No 44871 was one of the steam locomotives that hauled the last British Rail-operated steam train in the country – the ’15 Guinea Special’ that ran between Liverpool, Manchester and Carlisle in August 1968.

“That last British Rail steam train 50 years ago marked the end of an era that had started in 1825 when the first steam locomotive ran on the Stockton and Darlington Railway.

“Back in August, 1968, that summer day was a very sad one as people across the north of England saw main line steam trains disappear into the history books,” added Trevor who is also a volunteer train guard and signalman on the Swanage Railway.”

Designed by William Stanier of the London Midland and Scottish Railway Company for hauling both passenger and freight trains, ‘Black 5’ No 44871 was built at Crewe in March, 1945.

No 44871 was withdrawn from service by British Rail’s Carnforth locomotive depot in Lancashire at the end of August, 1968.

Appearing on the Swanage Railway courtesy of Riley and Son (E) Limited, the ‘Black 5’ was moved by rail to the Swanage Railway courtesy of West Coast Railways.

The Swanage Railway’s recent Autumn Steam Gala was staged on the theme of the historic locomotive exchange trials in 1948 which took place on the newly nationalised British Railways network to evaluate different classes of steam locomotives from the previous ‘Big Four’ railway companies.

Drawing visitors from across the country, the successful Gala saw eight steam locomotives in action through the Isle of Purbeck during the three-day event including three visiting locomotives – London Midland and Scottish Railway Stanier ‘Black 5’ No 44871, 1938 London Midland and Scottish Railway No 6233 ‘Duchess of Sutherland’ and 1954 British Railways Class 4 Tank No 80078.

The Swanage Railway welcomes new volunteers to help run the heritage line so call 01929 475212 for a chat or email iwanttovolunteer@swanagerailway.co.uk

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