After the teaser of showing you just the bufferbeams and front steps of the 3 2-6-0 Standard 4’s at Sutton Oak I thought you would like to see the BIG picture. 

So here it is:

Taken on 3rd July 1966 with from left to right 41286, 76078, 76084 and 76077. The last two, of course, still exist but in very different stages of restoration.

76084 still carries her 10H Lower Darwen shedcode as well as the text on her bufferbeam some 15 months after transferring to Sutton Oak.

Not one of the locos has their overhead wires warning flashes in the same formation/place!!

Thanks again to Peter Winstanley for providing this stunning image of 76084 and her sisters.

It is really nice to see 76084’s class-mate and one-time Shed-mate, 76079 back in action on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. ’79 in a previous life (under the ownership of Ian Riley) was mainline certified. She will be part of the NYMR fleet running into Whitby from Pickering. 

Wouldn’t it be really nice if both 76079 and 76084 got together on Network Rail metals and double headed a few steam charters?

We can but dream.

When ’79 and ’84 were shedmates at Sutton Oak Motive Power Depot at St. Helens there were a number of photographs taken of the enhanced population of these BR Standard 2-6-0 4MT locos. A much published image shows 76079 front and proud. Recently, an image with 76084 front and proud has come to light. Taken in early July 1966 it represents the only recorded sighting the 76084 Locomotive Company Limited has on their website for that year. But one thing caught the eye of this viewer.

British Railways built 999 ‘Standard’ locomotives with many parts being interchangable. When it came to protecting locomen from overhead wires warning flashes were placed at eye level on engines to warn of the danger. This was half way through the BR Standard Locomotive’s short BR life span.

So here are 3 locomotives of the same class (2-6-0 4MT numbers 76077, 76078 and 76084) at the front of Sutton Oak Shed. There does not seem to be a standard way of placing the Overhead Wire Flashes!! 

Which one is 76084? If you know anything about ’84 she stands out quite clearly.

We will share the BIG picture with you shortly.

With thanks to Peter Winstanley for providing another stunning image of 76084.

76084 Locomotive Company Limited has been running a ‘Go Mainline’ Appeal for over a year now. What progress has been made?

Enough funding has been obtained through the sponsorship scheme to fit all the Train Protection & Warning System (Mainline Lite in some places) and almost all of the On-Train Monitoring and Recording System. Many of the parts are on order for these. The Company now need to push for GSM-R (Global System Mobile Communications – Railway) funding. With help from shareholders and supporters alike this can be achieved.

76084 has a Support Coach waiting in the wings for the day she hauls a mainline charter. 76084 has been allocated the TOPS running number 98484. Preparations are in hand to recruit a Support Crew near to the time she goes mainline.

So getting back to the question in the title. Knowing how these things pan out let’s say mid-2015 for a mainline debut but it will be highly dependent on a number of things falling into place. So watch this space.

I’m frightened to book any holidays next summer as I want to be on the first charter she pulls. Can you help us get ALL the funding in place? Follow our ’12 Days of Christmas’ to see if there is something you could fund. 

See you on the mainline in 2015.

Just heard from the Production Department that the 76084 – Locomotive Profile DVD will be with me Monday or Tuesday at the latest next week.

It runs for a staggering 2 hours and has footage going back to Woodham’s through some of the milestone moments of restoration (thanks Roger Norris and Mel Rutter) to her return to traffic and sojourns on 3 heritage railways with shots of the Travelling Post Office drop/pickup on the GCR and, of course, the recent 60 mph speed runs.

We will have sufficient stock to meet the pre-orders from the Annual General Meeting and a good few more besides.Buy online now and it will be posted to you next week. A little pre-Christmas treat. The DVD will be advertised in the railway press and on sale in the North Norfolk Railway Shop(s).

At £15 + £1.49 post and packing it will make a great addition to any rail enthusiasts’ collection.

Each sale will bring in a little more funding for our Go Mainline Appeal

I can’t wait to view it!!

Whilst 76084 clocked up a number of ‘firsts’ on the Great Central Railway in October (see separate article) the chief amongst them must be clocking 61 mph.

When 76084’s Mark 2A BR tender was restored we had the wheel bearings examined by an engineer who put a question mark over their high speed capabilities but passed them for heritage railway speeds of 25 mph. 

Thinking back Phil Rollin was fortunate that 76084 remained coupled to her original tender throughout her 14 year 4 month stay at Dai Woodham’s scrapyard. But such a long period of inactivity in salt-laden air from the sea must have taken its toll on mechanical parts.

The question of the tender bearings suitability for high speed running, especially with our ambition of going mainline, had to be answered. Where better to put the bearings to the test than on the GCR.

So, after advice from the GCR management, 76084 was turned to run facing north on the better ‘down main’ on the morning of 20 October 2014. The tender was full of coal and water and a 5 coach consist coupled up. Speed on the ‘up main’ were limited to 45 mph but 76084 performed 4 runs on the ‘down’ where maximum speeds recorded were 58, 60, 60 and 61 mph respectively.

And how did the bearings stand up to this treatment? With no problems at all. They reached an acceptable operating temperature and stayed there.

There is a video on YouTube that complements this article.

The mainline beckons in 2015

Help us get there by sponsoring parts of the safety systems here.

57 mph through Quorn & Woodhouse

The Great Central Railway (GCR) is a heritage line with a difference. 

76084 being there as one of the operating fleet during October she is clocking up a number of ‘firsts’ since being restored and returned to traffic in July 2013.

  1. Operating on a ‘mainline’ – the GCR is Britain’s only mainline heritage railway and you are transported back to the days of regular steam trains be they passenger or freight passing each other at speed rather than in passing loops with attendant token exchange.
  2. Pulling a Travelling Post Office – the Railway Vehicle Preservations set of operating TPO vehicles are a quality piece of railway restoration and 76084 has been privileged to be the motive power on 2 demonstrations during the Autumn Steam Gala which leads to the next ‘first’. Video can be seen here.
  3. Running at 40 mph – the TPO demonstrations have to be done at a raised speed and the GCR is the only heritage line that can run at up to 75 mph compared to 25 mph on most heritage railways. So running at 40 mph on the TPO is another first.
  4. Windcutter train – the GCR is the home of this project and 76084 was again privileged to be motive power on one mineral wagon turn as can be seen here.
There are bound to be more ‘firsts’ on the Great Central. Have I missed any out? Of course, if you have ridden behind her at the GCR then it must have been a personal first.

If you haven’t seen 76084 performing on the GCR then time is running out. She will be in service on the next 2 weekends before returning to the North Norfolk Railway to take part in their Santa season.

One of the key points of heritage railways is their recreation of the lines’ history. Sometimes the locomotive classes worked on that line in normal service, sometimes they did not.
   The 76000s -BR Standard Class 4s -did work along the old Great Central main line. So although 76084 itself worked around the North West others could be found on the GC 50 to 60 years ago. A photo in a recent “Steam Railway” shows 76036 ready to leave Marylebone with a two coach parcels train for the GC main line in April 1963. Looking at my copy of the thorough RCTS “British Railways Standard Steam Locomotives” Volume 2 shows more of them working on the southern end of the GC plus others working along the route of current heritage GCR. In fact 76036 was one of ten (76035-76044) delivered to Neasden shed in mid 1954 which were used on suburban and parcels trains between Marylebone -Aylesbury plus goods trains between Neasden -Woodford Halse and Aylesbury -Quainton Road. In June 1955 76035 was now at Woodford Halse shed and was seen on Leicester Central -Marylebone semi-fasts. By the summer of 1958 76035 -76044 could still be seen on semi-fast passenger trains from London -Leicester, Neasden – Woodford Halse goods and Marylebone -Aylesbury suburban services. After Neasden shed closed in 1962 76035 -76043 moved to Cricklewood shed on the MIdland Division but continued to work on the GC line. On July 17th 1962 76037 replaced ailing B1 61106 on the six coach 12.25 pm Nottingham Victoria -Marylebone at Woodford Halse then “easily kept time reaching a maximum of 81 mph down the 1 in 105 gradient between Amersham and Chorley Wood.” By 1964 76035/37/39/41/89 were based at Willesden which was now responsible for locomotive workings on the Marylebone line.
   What about 76000s running along the line forming the present GCR between Loughborough -Leicester North (Belgrave & Birstall)? Daytime Marylebone -Sheffield Victoria or Manchester London Road expresses were replaced in 1960 by Marylebone -Nottingham semi-fasts which were regularly hauled by Standard 4s “which were capable of fast running” in tight timings. This seems to have lasted several years.
    So when you see 76084 on the Great Central on a weekend this October or, better still, ride behind it, you will be riding behind a member of a locomotive class which worked along there in  the 1950s and 1960s.

                            76084 STEAMING ON THE GREAT CENTRAL
Attending the Great Central Railway’s gala marked the third heritage line on which 76084 has run since the completion of restoration last year. It is different in character from the other two. While the North Norfolk is a coastal line with one main steep bank and the East Lancs has more gradients and sharper curves around the Pennine hills the GCR is a preserved section of main line. So here 76084 has long stretches of straight track, much more gentle curves and gradients typically as easy as 1 in 176. Our locomotive went past an impressive array of signals, passed the extensive Swithland Sidings and on the long double track section passed other trains without having to wait until both were in a station.
    76084 steamed well on the first two days when I attended and by all accounts did so on the other two. In attendance throughout the gala were some of the Restoration Team, mainly from the North East, who prepared the engine from 6 am and disposed of it at the end of the day. There was plenty of chatter from 76084’s chimney on the variety of passenger and goods trains it hauled as well as clouds of steam billowing from it to see and smell. Whatever the train it performed well and made an impressive sight at the head of all of them. With these different trains and passing others on the double track it was just like a main line scene of the 1950s or 1960s -when 76084 was in BR service.
    The Great Central is to be congratulated not only for developing into such a major railway but also for the intensive services provided during the gala. Even on the ‘quieter’ first two days you didn’t have to wait more than 10 to 15 minutes to see another train. Thanks to the loco crews and plenty of uniformed platform staff station stops were smart and the trains were soon on their way again. The possibilities when the GCR has the missing bridge put back in at Loughborough to link up with the GCR (N) are exciting. A heritage main line railway from the outskirts of Leicester to the outskirts of Nottingham.
    76084 played its part well in the gala, attracting plenty of attention. As well as shareholders and those who restored there were others who came to see and ride behind it. It was a delight to see, hear and smell it in action again. It proved what we always knew it would be: an economical ‘big’ (i.e. tender) locomotive ideal for pulling heritage railway trains.
    76084 is scheduled to haul weekend trains at the GCR for the rest of October. The GCR is in a central England location. If travelling any distance it’s probably best to contact the GCR beforehand to check when it is running. Otherwise, why not go to see 76084 and travel behind it yourself?!