257 Squadron steams at Swanage

SOUTHERN Locomotives Limited-owned unrebuilt Bulleid Pacific No. 34072 257 Squadron moved under its own steam at the Swanage Railway on August 9 after an absence of 15 years.

The occasion was the first major test the 4-6-2 has had since leaving the line’s Herston Works last year.

Further mileage accumulation and testing will follow, before the locomotive returns to passenger traffic.

Bulleid Battle of Britain Pacific No. 34072 257 Squadron at Harman’s Cross on Saturday, January 4, 2003, its penultimate day in traffic. ANDREW PM WRIGHT

Explaining why it has taken so long for 257 Squadron to be returned to traffic, having been transferred to the railway some months ago, SLL said: “The railway has to use the pits constantly for operational locomotives and steam test runs have to fit in between trains, which on some days is simply not possible.

“An unexpected problem arose with a jammed axlebox, probably caused by the extended motionless stay in Herston Works awaiting the long overdue return of the boiler.

“This was rectified after a lengthy time in which a vast amount of diesel and lubricants were utilised which finally cured the problem, and proved to be a seized driving axle spring rather than the box itself.”

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