‘Battle of Britain’ No. 34081 92 Squadron made its first moves under its own steam for the first time in eight years on December 13, as the overhaul of the Bulleid-designed 4-6-2 enters its final stages.
The ‘Spam Can’ reached its full working pressure of 250psi for the first time since 2008 when the locomotive was withdrawn for its ten-year overhaul. No. 34081’s steel firebox had welcomed its first fire in just nearly a decade the previous day, as a warming fire was lit in preparation for the unofficial steam test the following day.
Resplendent in British Railways malachite-and-sunshine livery, albeit not yet fully lined out, 92 Squadron made its first moves up and down the yard at Wansford on the Nene Valley Railway, with members of owning group, the Battle of Britain Locomotive Society, in attendance.
The insurance steam test is expected to take place on January 11 and, barring any last minute technical difficulties, the ‘Battle of Britain’ is expected to re-enter traffic in time for the 2017 season, making it the sole operational malachite green-liveried ‘Light Pacific’.