Mayflower out of gauge!

Now reaching the final stages of its overhaul, B1 4-6-0 No. 61306 Mayflower has, at this late stage, been declared out of gauge for its first revenue-earning trip, the long delayed charity train from London to Harwich on April 15.

As reported last month, the 4-6-0’s boiler has been delivered to Carnforth to enable final assembly to begin.

Following a complete repaint, the engine will be tested on West Coast’s performance proving circuit and once its ticket is renewed be moved to what will be its permanent working base, Southall.

Now Network Rail has cast a cat amongst the pigeons by declaring the 4-6-0 out of
gauge at Woodbridge station
en route to Leiston in Suffolk, for the much delayed Charity Railtour which has been almost two years waiting in parallel
to the B1’s overhaul.

There was talk of overcoming the problem by running through the station wrong line but that failed. Apparently Network Rail had changed the signalling arrangements which knocked the idea on the head.

Having come this far with the engine, its owner David Buck said he was distraught at this latest development. “The boiler took long enough and now this!”

Resigned to the fact that Mayflower will not make the trip to Harwich he is nevertheless looking forward to rejoining main line activities in May when the B1 is booked for a number of trips heading ‘Cathedral Express’ trains throughout the month.

That said, it is understood that the charity train will run with a ‘Black Five’ at its head. A full itinerary was published last month.

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