The Bodmin & Wenford Railway (BWR) has received a welcome visitor to assist with its peak summer timetable – Mid-Hants Railway-based BR ‘2MT’ No. 41312. The Ivatt 2-6-2T is set to spend around three weeks on the friendly Cornish heritage line before returning home to the Watercress Line.
The welcome news will bring the sight and sound of the BR Standard attacking Bodmin’s banks – with gradients as steep as 1-in-40.
The whys & wherefores
Explaining the reason for the visit, a BWR spokesman told The Railway Hub: “For all of July, the BWR has been relying on ‘Austerity’ 0-6-0ST No. 75178 as its sole source of steam motive power. The loco has performed admirably for five days each week on the railway’s 1-in-40 gradients with a four-coach train, but the time was fast approaching for routine servicing and a boiler wash.
“Our reserve loco, GWR 0-6-0PT No. 6435 is awaiting re-tubing, so the call went out for the return of our other GWR ‘pannier’ No. 4612, currently on hire to the Mid-Hants Railway. With the Mid-Hants wanting to retain No. 4612 for a while longer, it was suggested the BWR might like to have the use of No. 41312. The generous offer was readily accepted, the 1952-built loco duly arrived at Bodmin on Friday, July 30.”
The prospect of seeing something different at Bodmin has created a stir amongst local rail enthusiasts. However, a ‘Micky’ is, in fact, no stranger to Cornwall, many of the class having been used on the SR Withered Arm branches in the 1960s, prior to the Beeching closures. Some were shedded at Wadebridge and were regular visitors to Bodmin North.
It is believed that they would have reached Western metals at Bodmin General and Bodmin Road from time to time, but the BWR is unaware of the existence of photographic evidence.