'Cromwell' cancelled for Bluebell gala

‘Britannia’ No. 70013 Oliver Cromwell will not be attending the Bluebell Railway’s Giants of Steam gala on October 28-30.

Great Central Railway-based ‘7MT’ No. 70013 Oliver Cromwell stands at Loughborough MPD on October 8. The Riddles 4-6-2 is no longer attending the Bluebell Railway’s Giants of Steam Gala on October 28-30. BEN SCOTT

Great Central Railway-based ‘7MT’ No. 70013 Oliver Cromwell stands at Loughborough MPD on October 8. The Riddles 4-6-2 is no longer attending the Bluebell Railway’s Giants of Steam Gala on October 28-30. BEN SCOTT

With just one week before the start of the three-day event, the Bluebell Railway announced on October 19 that the Riddles ‘7MT’ would no longer be starring at the line’s end-of-season gala.

According to the Bluebell’s Communications Director, Roger Garman, they had received word from No. 70013's base, the Great Central Railway, that Oliver Cromwell had failed and would no longer be available to attend the Giants of Steam event.

Although no formal announcement has yet to be made regarding a replacement for the ‘Brit’, it is hoped that a Stanier ‘8F’ will be taking Oliver Cromwell’s place. As the only operational ‘8F’ on the GCR, it is believed this will be No. 48624.

No. 70013, famous for hauling part of the ‘Fifteen Guinea Special’ which brought the curtain down on steam on August 11 1968, was due to star alongside LNER ‘B12’ No. 8572.

The sole-surviving inside-cylinder 4-6-0 is making its debut on the Bluebell Railway, and is visiting from the North Norfolk Railway, courtesy of the Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway Society.

Also earmarked are locomotives from the Bluebell’s own fleet: BR Standard ‘5MT’ 4-6-0 No. 73082 Camelot, ‘S15’ No. 847 and ‘Q’ class No. 30541, the latter having recently starred in the Nene Valley Railway’s Southern Railway-themed gala on September 10/11.