Three decades of the Duke: an original groundbreaker

By Ian Murray

THE Seventies was, in many ways, the worst possible decade in which to attempt the ground-breaking rebuild upon which unique BR Pacific No. 71000 Duke of Gloucester’s merry band had embarked.

A previously-unpublished view of No. 71000 Duke of Gloucester on the Crewe-Shrewsbury line in 1955. PETER KENYON
A previously-unpublished view of No. 71000 Duke of Gloucester on the Crewe-Shrewsbury line in 1955. PETER KENYON

Apart from the splash of colour and sound when ABBA won the Eurovision Song Contest with Waterloo in 1974, the decade was marked by the oil price spike, industrial unrest, power cuts, inflation touching 26% and interest rates rising to 15%.

Throughout all of this, the Duke’s intrepid band ploughed on, stripping the gutted hulk, lifting the boiler and starting down the new manufacture route with the casting of new camboxes and the remaking of other parts.

Read more in the latest issue of Heritage Railway

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