Thunderbird gives Leander a tow

In terms of steam operations, West Coast Railways is unique in as much that it can usually rustle up a diesel locomotive at short notice to assist a stranded steam-hauled charter train when things go wrong on, or in front of, the footplate.

This ability was demonstrated on Tuesday, June 11 when Jubilee 4-6-0 No. 45690 Leander, working a ‘Fellsman’ trip, was hit by an injector problem prior to tackling the water-consuming gradients on the Settle and Carlisle line on the return journey.

LMS Jubilee 4-6-0 No. 45690 Leander passes Hoghton, Lancashire with the outward working of Statesman Rail’s ‘Fellsman’ from Lancaster to Carlisle on June 11. DAVID PRICE

In the event, West Coast produced a Class 47 diesel, which towed the train and the 4-6-0 over Ribblehead to Hellifield, where on arrival, the Jubilee was uncoupled and made its own way back to Carnforth. The ‘Fellsman’s’ journey was completed by the 47.

June marked West Coast’s 20th year as a Train Operating Company, but without any form of drum beating or flag flying.

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