Cromwell’s snowy main line finale

BR Standard Britannia Pacific No. 70013 Oliver Cromwell’s programme of railtours to bring its period of main line running to an end was to involve runs on three routes associated with the Britannia Pacifics in steam days, but the weather was to play a major part in its finale.

On February 22, No. 70013 left Liverpool Street with a Steam Dreams’ ‘Cathedrals Express’ bound for Norwich, running on the line that it was built for in 1951.

Oliver Cromwell passes under the route of the GCR’s London extension at Bedgreave on the Midland Railway ‘Old Road’ between Chesterfield and Rotherham on March 3. ALAN WEAVER

Sadly, a lubrication problem brought the train to a standstill near Diss and although the engine was able to reach Norwich at reduced speed, it was unable to then head the train back to London.

Quick work by the locomotive’s support crew saw the problem fixed in time to return to the capital light engine on February 27 but as reported last month the weather intervened. With disruption forecast in East Anglia because of heavy snow, the move was cancelled at Network Rail’s request, but conditions were not as bad as feared and the move took place on the following day.

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