‘Number Nine’ joins Leander at East Lancs spring gala

‘A4’ No. 60009 Union of South Africa has joined the line-up for the East Lancashire Railway’s ‘Spring Steam Gala’ on March 2-4.

 Returning to the East Lancashire Railway this March, ‘A4’ No. 60009  Union of South Africa  powers past Burrs on October 18 2017 during a 3P20 photo charter. TOBY JENNINGS/SR

Returning to the East Lancashire Railway this March, ‘A4’ No. 60009 Union of South Africa powers past Burrs on October 18 2017 during a 3P20 photo charter. TOBY JENNINGS/SR

John Cameron’s Gresley-designed ‘Streak’ is the second guest engine confirmed for the three-day event on the Heywood-Rawtenstall line, and will line-up alongside previously announced ‘Jubilee’ No. 45690 Leander, which is attending courtesy of the Jubilee Locomotive Company and Chris Beet.

The pair will join members of the ELR home steam fleet at the gala, including ‘Crab’ No. 13065 – itself recently the star of the Great Central Railway’s January 26-28 ‘Winter Steam Gala – ‘West Country’ No. 34092 City of Wells, LYR ‘Class 27’ 0-6-0 No. 52322 and ‘Black Fives’ No. 45407 ‘The Lancashire Fusilier’ and 45212.

Union of South Africa isn’t the only celebrity ‘Pacific’ confirmed to star at an ELR gala this year, as ‘Princess Coronation’ No. 46233 Duchess of Sutherland has been booked for the railway’s ‘Autumn Steam Gala’ on October 20/21 – subject to the completion of its overhaul.

It is expected that the ‘Duchess’s’ Princess Royal Class Locomotive Trust stablemate, BR ‘4MT’ No. 80080, will have re-joined the ELR by then, as the 2-6-4T is expected to return to Bury on loan at the end of March (see SR476).

For more information on the ELR ‘Spring Steam Gala’, and to book tickets, visit: http://www.eastlancsrailway.org.uk/events-activities/2018/3/spring-steam-gala.aspx

UPDATE: ‘Number Nine’ has also been confirmed for a five-day stay at the Nene Valley Railway later this year. It will run there August 30-September 3, when it will star in the line’s ‘September Pacifics’ event on September 1/2 alongside NVR resident ‘Battle of Britain’ No. 34081 92 Squadron.

It will be the second time Union of South Africa has graced the Wansford-Peterborough in the last 12 months, having attended a similar event on September 16/17 last year. The ‘A4’ will also be available for driver experience courses on August 30 and September 3. Tickets for these can be booked via 01780 784444.