THE Great Central Railway is planning to have six steam locomotives in action for its Last Hurrah of the Season gala on November 18/19.
Subject to completion of its overhaul, this will include Austerity 0-6-0ST No. 68067 hauling its first passenger trains – and rekindling memories of the heritage line’s earlier days when, like many other ‘starter’ outfits, it relied on industrial types.
The engine was built by Hudswell, Clarke in 1943 as works No.1752 and given the WD number 75091.
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It was one of the locomotives which passed to the National Coal Board after the end of the war and went to Holly Bank Colliery, near Wolverhampton in 1950.
After Holly Bank closed it moved to Littleton Colliery in Staffordshire in 1959 where it carried the number 7.
Littleton closed in December 1993 and the engine moved around several collieries before arriving at Bold Colliery near St Helens on February 27, 1978, where it was named Robert.
While at Bold Colliery, it was prepared for and took part in the Rocket 150 cavalcade at Rainhill in May 1980.
Robert was withdrawn and sold for preservation in 1982 and at one stage was preserved at the Crewe Heritage Centre. In 2007 it was bought by Roger Hibbert and moved to the GCR for restoration to working order, and is now carrying mock BR livery as a J94.
Also making its debut at the event will be the line’s newly-constructed replica diesel brake tender.
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