Black Five on Tour
Have Black Five Will Travel…!
A few years later, another fledgling railway at Peak Rail in Derbyshire had reopened and was expanding, they contacted 26B as they had the requirement of an ex-BR main line steam loco, this was to further attract attention from other steam enthusiasts and the general public, in order to develop and increase their own heritage services there.
Subsequently, after agreement 26B gave the go ahead and further road transportation was arranged
(this time without a sideways shunt), thereafter 45337 provided heritage steam services for two successive summer seasons.
During the visits to Peak Rail, she was honoured to be the loco chosen to re-open the extension of their newly reinstated line, now running between Darley Dale and Rowsley.
During the reopening special some of the team of 26B presented a coal model of the Black Five to the dignity attending the event, the “Duke of Devonshire”, but are not currently sure if its kept on the mantelpiece at Chatsworth house or not.?
Following this, in 2000 she then travelled over to the Nene Valley Railway (Nr Peterborough) to help with heritage steam services there, then far from her past stomping ground on the LMS system, she had a further enjoyable short two week stay, attending a gala at the Mid Hants Railway, running over the lines of the Watercress Railway enjoying the South Downs and its steep gradients up to the highest station in southern England at Medstead and Four Marks, but this visit was all too short.
After this in June 2000, she moved on for another enjoyable visit to the heritage line on the West Somerset Railway, which being the longest heritage railway in the country, resulted in some interesting journeys.
With long distances between stations, the scenic countryside around the Quantock hills, together with the coastal terminus at Minehead, it no doubt began to feel like old times, given a clear run and a full head of steam, she once again had been given the chance to run well being able to steam freely between stops.
Eventually leaving the West Somerset Railway at the end of June 2000 and headed back up North. This time for a successful visit to Haworth in Yorkshire running on the relatively short (by comparison) but none the less enjoyable line, with its well-known Bronte heritage connection’s, on the Keighley & Worth Valley railway.
While visiting – 26B heard of a press event that was being organised for a photoshoot with at Haworth Station, this
“photo shoot” was to take place on the footplate with two VIPs, therefore in order to look her best for this close encounter, she was spruced up and given a quick wash & brush up.
It’s always good to look ones best when appearing in the national news, particularly so, when playing host to the then serving Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie.
The photo event was arranged following an outbreak of
Foot & Mouth disease, which had previously resulted in the lockdown of farming communities within areas of surrounding countryside.
This event with the media had been organised by the Government of the day for “information purposes” the message being to inform the general public “that the countryside was reopening and returning to normal”.
Undaunted by this brief encounter, and all the publicity she headed back down to the West Somerset Railway for a return visit in June 2002 for another enjoyable “Seaside Holiday” visiting to the coastal resort of Minehead, which ironically just across the Bristol Channel, was almost within sight of Barry Island again.
During the locos two visits to the West Somerset Railway a youthful volunteer within the railway, who now works with a Railway magazine, got equated with this ex-main line LMS loco.
Realising that not all steam locos were painted in a Brunswick Green livery, for not only was this one black, it had no brass cab number plates either, with a five-digit number, instead of the unusual four found on GWR locos.
He may even have been led to believe that this loco was actually an improved Hall, of course we could not possibly comment on this matter!
In October 2001, after leaving the West Somerset Railway, she headed north for a visit in Staffordshire to run some of their steam services for a short time on the Churnet Valley Railway.
After this returned to Yorkshire once more, but this time to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.
This Railway provided good steaming opportunities running through the spectacular north Yorkshire countryside between Grosmont to Pickering. For many steam locos, this can be a challenge due to the railway possessing one of the steepest gradients on UK heritage railways.
This visit resulted in many enjoyable moments for her to work hard, listening to the old girl roaring again in second valve, with a white-hot fire, making full use of all her 28 superheater elements, whilst noisily cresting hilly summits with heavy dining trains in tow etc.
Unfortunately, and seemingly only too quickly, after a routine inspection it was established that she had slipped a tyre on one of her driving wheels, this resulted in her visit there to be curtailed.
It was immediately obvious that she should be taken out of service for repairs, therefore transportation was arranged and with her offending wheelsets, she was hauled back to the East Lancashire Railway for assessment.
One thing is certain, when running steam locomotives even if they are a new build, “they will break down”, in addition repairs can generally be expensive.
Its not like you can just nip over to Halfords for a new set of tyres, or anything like that, most components are bespoke usually being manufactured as one offs to order.
At that time the extent of the repairs required, were both unplanned for and costly.
Losing monies on three fronts is often the case, the downtime not being in traffic, resulting in loss of revenue, together with unexpected costs of transportation combined with the repairs as well. All of which have an impact on operating and maintaining the loco.
Until this occurrence 26B was operating successfully with the second overhaul in sight, being mostly funded and planned for.
After investigation, it was established that all the driving wheelsets should now have new replacement tyres.
These days manufactures of these said items are few and far between, but through various sources a new set was ordered and delivered from a firm in South Africa.
After the old tyres were removed and the new set shrunk into position, the wheelsets where reunited to the frames, later she was sent to Toton Motive Power Depot for the wheels to be re-profiled, this being undertaken overnight, returning to Bury the day after.
Steaming on the ELR and running on their timetabled services, was now the order of the day, but was short lived, for she was now slowly coming to the end of her first 10yr boiler certificate.
She finished her final days of this first restoration, still running regular services on the East Lancashire Railway. She ran her last trip in the summertime when the boiler insurance certificate expired in August 2005.