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Wednesday 2nd February 2022 Great Central Railway, Swithland Sidings, Swithland, Leicester LE7 7SE

A full day’s Winter steam action featuring Bulleid Pacific 257 Squadron at the head of a mixed goods

Join us for a full day of Winter steam action featuring streamlined Southern Region Bulleid Pacific 34072 257 Squadron at the head of a mixed goods train during the loco’s short working visit to Leicestershire


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About this event

Join us for the second of two days at the Great Central Railway featuring visiting Bulleid Pacific No.34072 257 Squadron which is paying a short working visit to Leicestershire for the Railway’s Winter Steam Gala. Today we will be starting from Swithland Sidings and using the lengthy mixed goods rake throughout.

Please arrive from 08.00 for our important safety briefing prior to commencing the charter at 08.30. Today, all travel will be by car as we are using a goods set and therefore cannot travel on the train. There will be a break for lunch, crew change and loco servicing around mid-day (the Butler Henderson Cafe at Quorn will be open for lunch) but apart from that we will be at the lineside all day until sunset.

Our locomotive for today is 257 Squadron, a Battle of Britain Bulleid-designed Pacific which was built for British Railways Southern Region at Brighton Works in 1948. Its first allocation was Dover Marine Depot where its duties would have included working Continental Boat Trains into and out of London, and local services into Charring Cross. The Pacific was not one of those rebuilt and remained in streamlined form throughout its career. As the 1950s progressed, the Southern Region was moving towards widespread electrification and in February 1958 No.34072 was moved to Exmouth Junction Shed for working the West Country services in Devon and Cornwall, as well as services to Salisbury. The locomotive’s final allocation was a four-month spell at Eastleigh before being withdrawn in October 1964 after sixteen years of service.

After a lengthy spell languishing in Woodham Brothers Scrapyard at Barry in South Wales, No.34072 was rescued for preservation by Southern Locomotives Limited who had been restoring the rebuilt Southern Pacific Port Line. It was in 1984 that 34072 moved to Blunsdon for storage and then to Swindon Works Weighbridge in 1987, which was at that time owned by Tarmac. Thanks to Tarmac, an interest free loan was secured to restore the locomotive to working order in time for the fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Britain and 257 Squadron returned to steam in September 1990, being officially renamed at Folkestone in the presence of a number of former Battle of Britain pilots. The Pacific is now based at the Swanage Railway and we would like to thank its owners, Southern Locomotives Limited, and the host Great Central Railway for facilitating these charters with 34072.

Charters with Bulleid Pacifics are always popular, so please book early to avoid disappointment. We look forward to seeing many of you at the Great Central Railway in early February 2022 for some authentic mid-winter steam action.

All participants will be required to show a negative test for Covid-19 before joining us on the lineside.

*Images are for illustration purposes only

Event requirements


  • Spare batteries
  • Camera
  • Lenses
  • Camera protection - rain covers etc

Other things you should bring

  • Snacks


  • All levels welcome


  • Medium

Other essentials

  • High vis jacket
  • Sturdy outdoor shoes
  • Warm clothing
  • Wet weather gear

Event location

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