Freshly overhauled ‘Battle of Britain’ No. 34072 257 Squadron’s recommissioning ceremony has been postponed.
Due to take place on September 30 at Corfe Castle station on the Swanage Railway with Oliver Bulleid’s grandson in attendance, the event was to have been the culmination of the ‘Light Pacific’s’ long-awaited return to steam.
However, further boiler tests have forced the owning group, Southern Locomotives Ltd., to cancel the event.
Simon Troy, chairman of SLL, says: “Whilst the locomotive is ready to steam, further tests to comply with new rulings have been requested by the boiler inspector, so that the locomotive can be passed for insurance purposes. We are quite sure that there will be no problems, but it has slightly delayed the locomotive’s running-in process.
“Fully aware of how long it takes to ‘fettle’ a locomotive of this size after such an extensive rebuild, we felt that we couldn’t risk the prospect of people committing themselves to accommodation and then possibly having problems cancelling close date.
“The Swanage Railway are as anxious as us to see 257 Squadron back in traffic and will do all possible to help us finalise these last few requirements.”
It is hoped to run No. 34072 alongside its rebuilt classmate, No. 34053 Sir Keith Park, at an event early next year when the latter returns to the ‘Purbeck Line’ on a permanent basis (see SR471, on sale now).