updated Fri 07-Jul-17
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[Fri 07-Jul-17] Newly restored Merchant Navy Class 35018 British India Line Line completed a successful loaded test run on 6 July and subject to any remaining paperwork issues joins the stud of mainline certified steam locomotives, becoming the second Merchant Navy to be approved. The final restoraton was completed at Carnforth and the loco followed the usual West Coast Railway test route from Carnforth to Hellifield, Blackburn, Preston and back to Carnforth. The loco is owned and operated by WCRC and is currently based at Carnforth. No plans have been announced for its future use but it will probably fill the gap in the WCRC stud caused by the impending withdrawal of Royal Scot Class 46115. An appearance on one of West Coast Dalesman trains seems likely.
The loco was built to Bulleid design at Eastleigh in 1945. It spent most of its service life allocated to Nine Elms depot (70A). It was among the first of the Class to be rebuilt by BR(Southern) under Jarvis in 1956. It was finally withdrawn from Nine Elms in August 1964 when it was sold for scrap to Woodhams, Barry. It left Barry in November 1979 and moved to the Mid Hants Railway (1980) and later South Coast Steam (2002) at Portland, Dorset for restoration and finally to Carnforth (2012). It currently carries a non-authentic plain black livery without name and number plates.
[Thu 29-Jun-17] Merchant Navy Class 35028 Clan Line successfullly completed a loaded test run overnight 28/29 June and rejoins the stud of mainline certified steam locomotives following overhaul at LNWR Heritage in Crewe. The DB Cargo-operated test followed a circular route from Crewe via Chester, Shrewsbury, Telford, around the Oxley chord at Wolverhampton and back via Stafford and Crewe to Chester. The loco and POB will move later on Thu 29 June via Tyseley to GWS, Didcot and will continue on Friday 30 Jun from Didcot via Slough to its base at Stewarts Lane depot. It begins a busy few weeks of railtours commencing with the Bournemouth Belle on Wednesday 5 July.
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