Hurrah for the Austerity!

Mid-November traditionally sees most heritage lines running a minimum service, if at all, as they prepare for the intensive but profitable festive season.

The Great Central Railway though ends the season with a bang, by staging a Last Hurrah of the Season enthusiasts’ gala with an intensive service running on double track that only the GC can stage.

After a complete overhaul at the GCR, Bagnall Austerity 0-6-0ST No. 68067 passes Woodthorpe on November 19 with a mixed freight train. PAUL BIGGS

2017 saw the event take an unusual turn with the debut of two bits of railway hardware that were a bit different to the usual fare at gala weekends.

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It is easy to forget, that he GCR, like most heritage lines did rely on industrial tank engines in its early days and the ubiquitous Hunslet Austerity 0-6-0ST played a part in getting what is now Britain’s only double-track main line heritage railway off the ground.

Roger Hibbert has restored a GWR 2-8-0T, an LMS 8F 2-8-0 and a 3F ‘Jinty’ 0-6-0T from Barry condition in a timescale few others have ever matched.

His latest acquisition was a Bagnall Austerity 0-6-0ST, which was named Robert in later years; one of the last to run in commercial service for the NCB and a star of the 1980 Rocket 150 cavalcade at Rainhill.

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