Steam Railways in Preservation In the 1990s
Including Littleton Colliery
Work begins on the removal of the shuttering at the ‘Bahamas’ Locomotive Society’s new purpose built workshops at Ingrow on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway. Revealed underneath them is the inspection pit which has taken the summer and autumn to complete. The ex-LMS Jubilee 4-6-0 was recently passed for 75mph running (when track and timing permits, of course) in a complicated procedure which included having the loco’s speedometer re-calibrated at Crewe Heritage Centre, its resting place between North Wales Coast excursion duties at the weekend. She returned to Keighley on Monday but will be out again on the main line, Rail Tours organiser Tom Cozens reminds enthusiasts, double-heading with Black Five ‘George Stephenson’ over the Settle & Carlisle Railway on December 18 1993 and January 1 1994. (Photo: John Fairclough
The staging of the most ambitious photographers’ charter steam train event ever – over the three day period November 12-14 1993 – became even more poignant in the light of subsequent events.
Within 48 hours of the event, British Coal announced that Littleton Colliery in Staffordshire firstly under review, was to close following losses of £2.9 m since April.
And that effectively means that the sight of working steam within a working colliery environment is unlikely to be repeated.
Over 140 of the country’s leading railway photographers were invited to the three-day event, organised by Railway Magazine Assistant Editor Chris Milner and photographer Robin Stewart-Smith, together with Steve Turner and other members of the nearby Foxfield Railway. Following the success of a similar one-day event at Littleton last year, it was proposed that the event be repeated but this time using two locomotives over the full length of the pit system.
Motive power came from Foxfield, appropriately in the shape of two ex-NCB 1950s-built Hunslet 0-6-0STs, ‘Whiston’ (ex-Bold Colliery) and ‘Wimblebury’ (ex-Cannock Wood Colliery). Foxfield also brought along their recently-acquired ex-LMS brake van, appropriately out-shopped in NCB blue and yellow livery.
Chemicals giant ICI have swapped Llangollen Railway more than three-quarters of a mile of 95lb bull-head line worth at least £25,000… for hundreds of seats for disabled and under-privileged children on their renowned ‘Santa’ services along the Dee Valley!
Imperial Chemical Industries say the site of redundant sidings is now wanted for further development at their sprawling Castner Kellner Works on the mouth of the Mersey estuary at Runcorn – and when the giant firm named their price, the North Wales line were more than delighted to oblige.
This special deal was arranged by ICI chief and Llangollen member Mr. John Rutter, who was anxious to ensure that the metals weren’t simply cut up for scrap.
Thousands of excited children and their parents from throughout Dorset and Hampshire are expected to deluge the volunteer-run Swanage Railway every weekend this December and the annual fund-raising ‘Santa Special’ steam trains on the relaid Purbeck Line.
And rail passengers can beat the traffic this year because volunteers are laying on a special vintage bus service from Weymouth and Christchurch – and many points in between – to the Swanage Railway. A rare 1961 double-decker Bristol Lodekka bus. ‘Nelly’ will be transporting passengers from Weymouth, Dorchester, Wareham, Poole, Bournemouth and Christchurch.
A preserved Bristol Lodekka FS6G/ECW at the Fleetwood Tram Sunday 2006. It was previous operated by Cumberland Motor Services, whose successor is Stagecoach North West. Bristol Lodekka F56G – 1961 – reg 109 DRMCC BY 2.0view termsTerry Wha from Bolton, UK
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