This Month sees restored Bulleid pacific 35006 Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co. return to regular steam on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway (GWSR) following the completion of her restoration and return to service last year.So far this year she has already run during March for a series of Private Charter trains in conjunction with the Cheltenham Races Festival, but now allocated dates for her running on the GWRS during May have been released.
The steaming dates commence this weekend 13th/14th May followed by the weekend of the 20th/21st and then Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 23rd to 25th may leading up to the GWRS’s Cotswold Festival of Steam over the weekend of Saturday 27th, Sunday 28th and Monday 29th May.
Her first visit to another line has also been announced, as 35006 will be appearing at the Mid Hants Railway Summer gala being held over two weekends in July to celebrate 50 years since the end of Southern steam with a distinctly Bulleid flavour. Over the weekends of 1st / 2nd and 7th, 8th and 9th July she will join Battle of Britain classes 34053 ‘Sir Keith Park’ , 34081 ’92 Squadron’ and 34052 ‘Lord Dowding’ in service with some of the lines resident fleet of BR standard locomotives.
For those of us as either members and, like myself, shareholders of the 35006 Locomotive Society yesterday 16th May 2016, was a very special day. Following restoration from an ex Barry condition, at the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway, that has taken over 30 years Bulleid Merchant Navy Pacific 35006 Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co. (the longest name of any locomotive in preservation) was officially renamed and hauled her first passenger train for over 50 years comprising of members and shareholders of the 35006 Locomotive Society along with a small number of invited honoured guests.
35006 was withdrawn in her prime in August 1964, before languishing in the infamous Dia Woodham Barry scrapyard for over 18 years. A small band of dedicated early pioneers of the 35006 Locomotive Society managed to scrape together the purchase price of just over £7000 which resulted in 35006 finally leaving for Toddington on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway in March 1983.
Over 30 years of dedication, hard work and fundraising by members of the growing 35006 Locomotive Society finally saw 35006 steam again, albeit on 2 cylinders, on 10th August 2015. Following completion of the final list of works required, further steaming and running in, the date was set for her renaming and first passenger run on Monday 16th May 2016.
Bill described to the audience those early days of making the necessary small but important steps of raising the initial funds to both purchase and secure a base for and moving 35006 to Toddington and therefore reaching where the Society is at today.
The final speaker before Pete Waterman unveiled the nameplate was former Southern Region Fireman, David Brown who was based at Yeovil.
David described how, as a 18 year old, he fired 35006, in August 1964 on the night mail coming off the train at Salisbury before going onto shed, 35006 was unusual in that she spent her entire career at Salisbury 72B shed, to be told that she was now to be withdrawn and he had just fired her final turn in service. David was then invited to be on the footplate, along with Pete Waterman on the first run of the day.
35006 then completed two runs between Toddington and Cheltenham Racecourse with an impressive twelve coach rake (unfortunately not in Southern Region green but you cant have everything!), not often seen on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway as they usually only run seven coach trains, which she handled with ease.
A very nice complimentary lunch was served on board the first run, which was quite an achievement in itself by the catering team from the Flag and Whistle franchised café run by Lynne Tidddy and her enthusiastic team.
It was certainly a fantastic day, the sun shone, 35006 looked, performed and sounded great.
35006 also carried a small plaque on the middle bufferbeam lamp bracket to mark the Society having received, earlier this year, the Heritage Railway Association’s John Coiley Award for the restoration of 35006.
The 35006 Locomotive Society should be duly proud of their achievement in all aspects of the restoration, fundraising and also the organisation of the day itself.
I would like to take this opportunity thank the 35006 Locomotive Society on behalf of all its members and shareholders for such a great day. A further note of thanks should be made for the wonderful complimentary full colour commemoration booklet charting the three decades of restoration.
One of the benefits of the being a member of the Bachmann Collectors club is the fact they produce limited edition model exclusively for club members. One of the models announced and available for purchase at the event on Saturday was a version of the ex London
Brighton and South Coast Railway (LBSCR) E4 class 0-6-2t in LBSC Umber livery as Birch