By Geoff Courtney
THE tens of thousands of visitors that flocked to the Revival event at Goodwood circuit in West Sussex over the September 7-9 weekend were eagerly anticipating the sight and sound of classic road and racing cars from a bygone era.
Few, however, were expecting the form of transport that greeted them at the main entrance – the unmistakable shape of GWR No. 9017 Earl of Berkeley, in steam and seemingly ready for the ‘right away.’
At a weight of 89 tons and a length of 56ft, the ‘Dukedog’ 4-4-0 and its BR-liveried tender provided an incongruous sight among the small and fleet-footed cars that were to be found at all parts of the famous circuit. Yet it was the stark contrast between loco and cars that made for an almost surreal visual effect, and brought a new twist to an event that was celebrating its 20th anniversary.
James Charman, of Goodwood Motorsport division, said the idea to bring the locomotive to the festival came up at a committee meeting during discussions about a track parade in celebration of all things British transport, marking 70 years since the formation of British Railways and the introduction of the iconic Austin FX3 taxi.
“The committee drew on the experience of previously having a fishing trawler at Revival, so they knew that logistically it would be possible to have a steam loco on display,” he said. “No. 9017 was selected after a visit to the Bluebell Railway, as visually it would have the most impact.
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