Words and pictures By Phil Marsh
OCTOBER 20 saw a WR Hawksworth pannier tank haul a very special main line memorial train from London to the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway.
As reported in issue 246, the train, headed by No. 9466, was organised in memory of its owner, the late Dennis Howells MBE, who died on August 18 at the age of 78.
Thanks to collaboration across the rail industry, No. 9466 made a 45mph dash with three West Coast Railways carriages in tow.
It ran between Southall and Chinnor, with 100 passengers, including Dennis’ sister Gwyn, support crew and stewards carried between Drayton Green, West Ruislip and Princes Risborough in each direction.
Since the introduction of Chiltern Railways’ Marylebone to Oxford services, it is well-nigh impossible to get a 75mph steam charter path on the Chiltern main line south of Bicester Town station.
Consider then that No. 9466 has a maximum speed of 45mph and even with only three carriages behind it, finding a path was only made possible by rail industry collaboration between West Coast, Chiltern Railways, Great Western Railway and the Network Rail charter planning team at Milton Keynes.
It is a mark of respect for Dennis Howells that these organisations worked together, as they said, “to make it happen.”
Read more and view more images in Issue 248 of HR – on sale now!