North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group

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4th May 2017

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The K1 is now safely at Fort William, having, by all accounts, performed exceedingly well on the Railway Touring Company's annual 'World Tour'. It left Carnforth at 03.50 on Saturday 29 April, piloted by a 37, arriving at Thornton yard, near Kirkaldy, via the Forth bridge, at midday, 45 minutes ahead of schedule. It left there at 10.30 the following morning for the short run via Ladybank to Perth where, after watering, double headed with 45212 (deputising for 60009 Union of South Africa) up the Highland main line to Inverness. On bank holiday Monday, 1 May, 62005 made a splendid run from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh and back, in superb weather, making a rousing climb up to Ravens Rock in the process. The next day the K1 again worked with 45212 on the return run to Perth, surmounting the formidable ascent to Slochd and less dramatic climb to Drumochter, at 1,484 feet the highest point on the National rail network, with consummate ease! Contrary to the original plan, the Black Five came off the train at Perth, and with a 47 now on the rear, 62005 then worked the train forward to Stirling, Larbert, Cumbernauld and Glasgow Central. A long day ended with the train running empty from Glasgow to Bo'ness, a total distance that day of 222 miles! To complete its adventure, on Wednesday 3 May, 62005 left Glasgow Queen Street for the run to Fort William, passing over the second highest point at Corrour - 1,350 feet - en route. However, the class 47 which pulled the train into Queen Street and then banked the train up the steep Cowlairs bank, stayed on the rear of the train throughout, because of high fire risk. Fortunately, after three days of near cloudless skies, but with a strong easterly breeze, there were no line side fires.

Over the five days, 62005 covered 951 trouble free miles, a vindication of the winter work carried out by WCR and Paul's team at Carnforth. However, the five days involved some very early starts and late finishes, so sincere thanks must go to the support crew under Paul Hutchinson's leadership, of Mark O'Brien, Emma Mountain, Angela Buxton, Rowland Bingham, Duncan Richardson and John Graham, who all worked hard and put in some long hours. Neal Woods, who shared the firing with me, also did fitness to run examinations, so he, too, deserves a special mention. The two drivers throughout on the K1 were Peter Walker and Bobby Duncan.

Whilst this is all good news, and all concerned can be very proud of what was a tremendous achievement, the downside is that the support coach remains at Bo'ness, as a technical problem precluded its use on the journey up to Fort William. However, the good news is, that it is hoped that the coach can be moved via a SRPS special from Bo'ness to Fort William on 13 May, in time for the K1's first week of Jacobite operation.