By Cedric Johns
REPORTS that the Railway Touring Company had secured the use of Tyseley-based GWR 4-6-0 No. 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe to head the first of this season’s ‘Royal Duchy’ excursions appear to have been over-optimistic.
RTC’s Nigel Dobbing was hoping to take advantage of the fact that the Castle was standing without work, pending Vintage Trains’ application for a railway operating licence.
On the face of it, hiring out the 4-6-0 would have produced some useful income for the West Midlands operation, but in reality the whole idea floundered on the economics involved.
Out of traffic since December, when West Coast withdrew the use of its footplate crews for Vintage Trains’ operations, No. 5043 was in need of an examination before returning to main line duties, never mind working ‘Royal Duchy’ trains over the south Devon banks and beyond.
As Tyseley’s chief engineer Bob Meanley pointed out, all things to do with engines require periodic maintenance, some based on time between servicing, others because of high mileage and fair wear and tear.
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