We are delighted to be able to offer you a place on the long awaited debut photographic charter of recently-restored British Railways '5MT' Class 4-6-0 No.73156 hauling a train of Red & Cream coaching stock recreating the 'Master Cutler', at the Great Central Railway courtesy of the locomotive's owners, the Bolton Steam Locomotive Company Limited.
Our day will start and finish at Loughborough station where there is plenty of on-road parking. Breakfast will be available at the station from 06.30. Our departure time is expected to be 07.30 and we will run through until sunset with a short break for lunch and loco servicing during the day. We will use both red & cream coaching stock and if time and weather permits we will try to also incorporate some passes with the railways recently restored Van Train at Swithland during the day. Travel will be by train, and the griddle car will be part of our train which means hot drinks and food will be available all day making for a very pleasant days photography.
No.73156 was one of 172 Standard Class 5 locomotives, of which 130 were built at Derby Works and 42 at Doncaster Works, from where 73156 emerged new in December 1956. As such the locomotive was amongst the last few hundred of the steam types built. No.73156 was intended for use on passenger and goods services and as such was ‘mixed traffic’ power class 5. During the course of its service with British Railways, the locomotive saw extensive use on express passenger, local passenger, parcels trains, long distance fast freight services and more humble duties. Originally allocated to Neasden Depot to work services out of London Marylebone, other sheds included Leicester Central, Woodford Halse and Leamington Spa. Withdrawal came from Bolton Depot when the locomotive had been in service for just eleven years, having accumulated only 325,000 miles in traffic.
The restoration of No.73156 is one of the more remarkable returns to steam in preservation. The return to steam in August 2017 has been the culmination of a thirty year long project that has seen the locomotive, a rusting hulk devoid of a tender, steadily reassembled from scrap yard condition back to her former glory as an express engine. British Steel’s industrial complexes included internal railway systems and upon these systems large heavy ingots needed to be transferred. To move the ingots British Steel purchased from the Woodham Brothers a quantity of tenders and following the cutting away of the upper structure (which conveyed coal and water) they were left with flat bed trucks capable of dealing with weights of up to 40 tons over restricted radii curves. No.73156 was one of the locomotives to have its tender removed and sold. With no tender and an increasing number of components removed and sold to purchasers restoring other locos, plus the effect of the prevailing weather and salt air, 73156 presented a very sorry sight. The fact that the design characteristics of the standard locomotives resulted in inter-changeable components was working against it; part by part, it was gradually disappearing.
It was seventeen years before a group of enthusiasts determined to preserve a locomotive with connections to the North West of England raised sufficient cash to purchase the ex-Bolton engine for preservation. After removal from Woodham Brothers scrap yard, 73156 moved to Bury on the East Lancashire Railway in late 1986, the fifth member of the class to be rescued for preservation. Around the mid-way point in the work, the decision was taken to move the locomotive to the Great Central Railway in Leicestershire; the Railway was keen to welcome the engine to the line, particularly as it had been shedded at three depots along the route of the former Great Central route during its working life for British Railways. Work continued in the north of England constructing a new tender.
So, after 31 years of restoration and reconstruction by a dedicated team, not to mention extensive fundraising, 73156 is back in steam. It is a privilege for us to run the first photo charter with the locomotive, and we know many of you will be keen to join us for the day. This is bound to be a popular event, so please book early to ensure your place at the lineside.
Event cost £80.00 per person.