This month’s edition of Steam Railway has a ‘returning’ theme, with locomotives left, right and centre making long-awaited returns and homecomings.
On the Great Western Railway, Toby Jennings explores the forthcoming return to steam of legendary ‘Castle’ No. 4079 Pendennis Castle, while at Tyseley, classmate Clun Castle edges closer to main line running once more.
Clan Line also returns to main line running following its recent overhaul, helping to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of Southern Region steam, while a small but important piece of Southern Railway history was made on July 8 with the long-awaited first steaming of the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway’s Lyn.
Timetabled main line steam makes a welcome return to Wolsztyn in Poland, and in Part Two of our exclusive NRM interview, Head Curator Andrew McLean outlines the case for and against returning some of the museum’s most beloved exhibits to steam.
Elsewhere, the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway celebrates its 90th anniversary, and the Steam Railway team assists the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway in getting back to Broadway.
There’s also a FREE Unseen Steam DVD*, celebrating the unsung heroes of the railways: six-coupled mixed traffic engines.
As always, Steam Railway brings you the very latest standard gauge, narrow gauge, Irish, main line and industrial steam news from across the UK and around the world.
You can read all this and more in the latest edition of Steam Railway – the world’s biggest selling steam magazine. On sale now!
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The National Railway Museum announced today that Paul Kirkman is leaving his post as the Director of the National Railway Museum.
In a statement, the NRM said: “Paul joined the museum in 2012 on secondment from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and has led a range of developments at the museum, notably the successful return to operation of Flying Scotsman, the world’s most famous locomotive.
“The National Railway Museum is about to undergo the greatest changes since it was established in 1975 at Leeman Road in York in a former steam locomotive depot, becoming the very first national museum outside London.
“The transformation of the museum will see a radical overhaul of its main gallery, the Great Hall, to tell the inspirational story of how modern science and engineering are transforming our railways to mark the 200th anniversary of the railways in 2025.
“Alongside this, the area between the museum and York station lies at the heart of the forthcoming York Central development, colloquially called the ‘King's Cross of the North’, which will catalyse the creation of a new cultural quarter for the city over the next two decades. Paul has led the way in negotiations for these developments but as they move into a new phase, the time is right for a new Director to realise the remarkable potential of this site.
“Our aspirations for the next decade are that the museum, its contents and surroundings are transformed, with visitor numbers growing to over 1 million per year.”
“I could not be prouder of The National Railway Museum’s accomplishments during my tenure as Director,” said Mr Kirkman. “Working with the Board, curators, and the Science Museum Group, the museum is now poised for a giant leap in its development, a major transformation that will change the city and this wonderful museum.”
Ian Blatchford, Director, Science Museum Group, said: “Paul has accomplished much during his time at the Museum and we look forward to building on his achievements in coming years, to reimagine the visitor experience so the museum can demonstrate how modern science and engineering are transforming our railways, and as the York Central development builds momentum.”
Mr Blatchford also announced that he has asked Judith McNicol, Director People and Culture, to serve as interim Director until a successor is appointed.
The Rail Accident Investigation Branch is investigating a “dangerous occurrence” on the South Devon Railway, in which a child nearly fell through the missing floor of a carriage lavatory.
The incident took place on June 22 on the 1pm Totnes Riverside-Buckfastleigh service, when a passenger and her small child attempted to use the lavatory in the fourth carriage, a Mk 1 Second Open.
According to the RAIB’s initial report: “On opening the door, they found that the floor of the compartment was missing, exposing the carriage wheels below. The mother was able to catch hold of the child and prevent him from falling. The child reportedly suffered minor bruising and both were shocked.
“The passenger reported the incident to the guard of the train, and the railway took action to secure the lavatory door. The incident was reported to the RAIB on June 25.
“The carriage, an ex-British Railways Mark 1 Second Open, had been put back into service after repairs to its braking system, which had required the dismantling of the lavatory floor. The floor had not been replaced and staff had placed a notice on the compartment door and attempted to secure it to prevent it being opened. This had not been effective.”
The SDR is also launching an internal inquiry, but owing to legal requirements is unable to comment further on details of the incident.
However, an SDR spokesman said: “The South Devon Railway takes this incident extremely seriously in which safety on a moving train was badly compromised and that could have resulted in serious injury to a female passenger and her young son.
“We regret that this incident took place and wish to apologise to the lady and family involved for the trauma which they suffered. The coach was taken out of service and quarantined pending the different investigations by the RAIB, ORR and SDR.
“On the day in question, something clearly went wrong with our safety control and hazard monitoring systems as evidenced by the incident having taken place – it simply should not have happened.
“As a result, we took steps to check all of our coaches and, subject to RAIB and ORR guidance, plan to implement an enhanced and rigorous inspection and monitoring regime for all passenger vehicles for the future.
“Despite this incident occurring, we are pleased that the SDR will continue to run its steam trains whilst the ORR and RAIB investigations are pending.
“Whilst we await the findings of the RAIB and ORR investigations, our own internal inquiry will leave no stone unturned either in order to discover how this incident occurred, how we might learn lessons from it, and how we can act accordingly in making improvements.”
The RAIB’s investigation will examine:
· The events leading up to the incident, including the repairs to the carriage and the actions taken to return it to service.
· The adequacy and suitability of the measures to secure the door.
· The railway’s safety management system, including the arrangements for managing the competence and fitness of the staff of the carriage and wagon department, and the systems in place for assuring the safety of rolling stock in service.
The RAIB will publish the result of its findings in due course.
The SDR spokesman concluded: “We are committed to putting safety at the heart of every area of our operations and, whilst this was an isolated incident without any previous precedent, there can be no room for complacency where railway and passenger safety is concerned.
“Having been in the tourism attraction business for nearly 50 years now, the SDR has a good and proven record of safe railway operations, and our visitors can rest assured that their safety is our number one priority.”
Flying Scotsman has been announced as the second guest locomotive at Locomotion: The NRM at Shildon’s ‘Autumn Steam Gala’ on September 16/17.
The ‘A3’ will arrive at the National Railway Museum’s Shildon outpost just days after having made its long-awaited visit to the West Somerset Railway on September 5-12, and will line up alongside previously announced BR Standard ‘2MT’ No. 78018.
Gary Campbell, Locomotion Museum Manager, said: “We’re delighted to be able to provide a chance to view this iconic locomotive. Flying Scotsman has attracted thousands of visitors since its inaugural run in 2016 and we look forward to the locomotive making an appearance at Shildon which is steeped in railway history.”
The ‘A3’ and ‘2MT’ won’t be the only locomotives on display at the museum during the event, as Furness Railway No. 20 – the oldest operational standard gauge steam locomotive in the UK – will be working passenger trains on the museum’s short demonstration line. Further Shildon locomotive exhibits will also be on outdoor display.
After starring at Shildon’s ‘Autumn Steam Gala’, No. 60103 will be attending Barrow Hill Roundhouse’s ‘Grand Re-Opening Gala’ on September 21-24, in which it will be reunited with new-build ‘A1’ No. 60163 Tornado and the NRM’s replica of Stephenson’s Rocket. It will be Flying Scotsman’s first visit to Barrow Hill since a BR Open Day in 1974.
The Gresley ‘Pacific’ has been busy this year - visiting the Bluebell and Keighley & Worth Valley Railway’s, as well as the Crewe Heritage Centre - and is due to make an appearance at the Didcot Railway Centre on August 26-28.
Locomotive appearances at the ‘Autumn Steam Gala’ event are subject to availability, and the museum reserves the right to change the programme.
Locomotion: The National Railway Museum at Shildon is open from 10am to 5pm daily, and admission is free of charge. For more information, please check Locomotion’s social media channels or call the museum team on 01904 685780.
Snowdon Mountain Railway No. 5 Moel Siabod has returned to the summit of Wales’ highest mountain for the first time in 17 years.
Withdrawn in 2000, the 0-4-2RT is now the railway’s flagship engine, following a comprehensive £60,000 overhaul. No. 5’s return to service on the SMR brings the mountain railway’s operational steam fleet up to four, joining Nos. 2 Enid, 3 Wyddfa and 6 Padarn.
Snowdon Mountain Railway General Manager, Alan Kendall, says: ““I’m extremely pleased to have Moel Siabod back in service and taking passengers up Snowdon once again.
“Our engineers assure me it is the best presented locomotive on our railway and the benchmark for all future locomotive re-builds.”
Carrie Probin, marketing executive at Snowdon Mountain Railway, said: “No. 5 has been given a thorough overhaul and our engineers are proud to see the steam engine restored to its prime and returning to the summit of Wales’ highest mountain.”
Moel Siabod was one of the original batch of five rack locomotives built for the SMR in 1895/6 by the Swiss Locomotive & Manufacturing Co. in Winterthur, and is named after a neighbouring mountain in Snowdonia. Only four of the original five locomotives survive, as No. 1 LADAS was destroyed in an accident on the line’s opening day on April 6 1896.
The fleet was supplemented in 1923 by a trio of superheated locomotives - Nos. 6 Padarn, 7 Ralph and 8 Eyri – also built by the Winterthur firm, of which only Padarn is operational.
For more information about Snowdon Mountain Railway, and to book tickets on the steam or diesel services visit: www.snowdonrailway.co.uk.