The first BR Standard loco, 4-6-2 No 70000 Britannia, was restored to main line running last year in unlined black and unnamed, but has now emerged in full Brunswick green glory and with a white roof, as when it hauled King George VI's funeral train in 1952. Today was its first public train after renaming by Prince Charles during a Royal Train journey over Copy Pit last month.
It was a dull damp and misty morning when Britannia joined the UK Railtours excursion at York to run via Leeds and Settle to Carlisle. Its performance with the 11-coach Royal Scot set sparkled from the off. We reached Colton Junction at 59 mph, Bolton Percy at 65, Ulleskelf at 68 and briefly touched 70 before slowing for Church Fenton.
Running through West Yorkshire was efficient but unspectacular, but after the water stop at Long Preston (and now in sunshine) we took off again like a rocket. We took a real run at the northbound 1 in 100 by reaching 62 at Settle Junction, and maintained the momentum all the way up: Settle at 57, Stainforth at 53, Horton at 49 and Selside at 46 before the slowing for Ribblehead. Now I am no Mike Notley, but of six unassisted northbound S&C runs I have done since starting detailed records (Britannia, Tornado, Bittern, Scots Guardsman twice and Leander), this was the fastest BY FAR!
The run across the tops was bright and lively, and the run down to Carlisle even livelier, such that we arrived on the outskirts of Carlisle 15 minutes early for the inevitable wait for a platform.
This iconic locomotive has returned to the northern hills in spectacular fashion: handsome is, and handsome certainly does!
Categories & Keywords
Keywords:70000, Britannia, Carlisle, Settle, UK Railtours, York