By Geoff Courtney
AS HE bid farewell to No. 31430 Sister Dora in October, Mangapps Railway Museum boss John Jolly feared he would suffer from withdrawal symptoms, for the Class 31 was the sole remaining ‘big’ diesel on site.
However, within days he was his usual ebullient self, for through the gates of his Essex museum came not one, but two Class 31 replacements, in the form of Nos. 31105 and 31233, which had been newly-acquired from Network Rail.
John had enjoyed the company of at least one main line diesel since 2007, but last year his son James’ Class 47 No. 47579 James Nightall G.C. departed for the Mid Hants Railway on a three-year loan, leaving just No. 31430, which was being restored at the site by its owner Martin Staniforth and a small group of volunteers.
And with that overhaul completed, the A1A-A1A moved to the Spa Valley Railway on October 14, as reported in last month’s issue, leaving John’s diesel stable comprising only shunting locomotives, including four ex-BR Class 03s and a Class 04.
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