On the Platform at Loughborough Central at last year’s Great Central Railway Autumn Steam Gala I was introduced to an enthusiast who is the proud owner of an image of 76084 at Fleetwood MPD (24F later 10C). He said he would sent me a copy.

Because of all the things going on during that fabulous month of October on the GCR, the memory of the conversation faded (not to mention the advancement of age and more senior moments than I care to admit to). So imagine my surprise and delight when Alan Smalley got in touch with me and did indeed send me the said image reproduced here for your own perusal.

Here is 76084 right at the very back of the Fleetwood Maintenance Shed and in bits.

Never mind the poser in front of the engine. Have a look around the various parts of the image. She bears not only the original 24D Lower Darwen shedplate but also her ‘SC’ (self-cleaning) designation plate. The year is 1958. What is unusual is that both piston and valve covers are off suggesting both are being inspected. It is also interesting to note that the tender has been uncoupled too.

Valve inspections were and are more frequent than piston inspections then taking place after 10 to 15,000 miles whilst piston inspections were normally at a frequency of around 20 to 25,000 miles running if I remember rightly. In 1957 from new 76084 ran 24,637 miles and was out of service for repairs for 21 days. In 1958 she ran a total of 27,353 miles but was out of service for 49 days for repairs. Could the work going on here be some of those 49 days?

76084 transferred to Lancaster Green Ayre (24J) on 4 October 1958. Could this work be being performed immediately prior to the transfer so that the Lancaster loco crews would have an engine in fair fettle to try out or could it be that they’d run her a few times and considered a full valves and pistons inspection was necessary?

If anyone can shed (pun intended) any further light on this we’d appreciate it. Whatever the reason for the dual inspection it does make for a very interesting photo and speculation as to why.

Thanks, Alan for taking the time and sharing this with 76084 Loco. Co. Ltd.

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