Sunshine farewell to ‘Mr Bill’

A SPECIAL train headed by Flying Scotsman is being planned for the autumn as a tribute to Sir William McAlpine, who rescued it from the USA and owned it for 23 years.

The A3’s owner the National Railway Museum is in talks with Sir William’s widow Lady Judy McAlpine about the historic memorial run, for which no firm date has yet been fixed.

The plans for the train were announced by Heritage Railway Association president Lord Faulkner of Worcester at a special memorial service held to celebrate the life and many achievements of Sir William, inside the railway museum at his family’s Fawley Hill residence near Henley-on-Thames on Sunday, May 13.

Hudswell, Clarke 0-6-0ST No. 31 with its packed train of memorial service attendees, climbs the record 1-in-13.4 gradient of the standard gauge Fawley Hill Railway as it passes Bill Parker’s rapidly-restored traction engine Mr Bill.

Around 1300 people turned up for the service, opened by Fawley parish vicar the Rev Stephen Southgate. They included many senior figures from the world of railway preservation, in which Sir William was a pivotal figure for the best part of half a century.

Sir William McAlpine Bt, FRSE, FCILT died at the age of 82 in the Royal Berkshire Hospital at Reading on
March 4 after losing a three-month battle against sepsis. Several staff members who treated him were among those who attended the memorial service.

As reported in issue 240, his
funeral was held on March 24, when Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0ST No. 31 hauled a train carrying his coffin along his legendary private Fawley Hill Railway to his final resting place in woods on his estate.

At the memorial service, pipers Robbie and Ben Gibbon led in the McAlpine family along with the
Prince of Wales’ representative, Sir Henry Aubrey Fletcher, the Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire.

Read more and view more images in Issue 242 of HR – on sale now!

Enjoy more Heritage Railway reading in the four-weekly magazine. Click here to subscribe.

Comments

comments