Those of us who have been hankering for more than 30 years to see a working Semi in BR green (for more than a few days!)were given hope last year by the PRCLT. They bravely decided to sideline their LMS-red diehards and give the punters a chance to choose. The decisive winners were the green-backers who put their money where their mouths were and, sure enough, the first pictures of the Duchess with some green paint began to emerge.
So delighted was I with the decision that I filled in a standing order form and became a Friend of the Duchess (for as long as she remains green!). For this reason I was included in the invitation to spend half a day footplating the Duchess as she builds up her mileage accumulation on the Midland Railway Centre line - an offer I couldn't refuse, and doubtless the fee will help pay the coal bills!
It was a grey, wet and windy morning as we arrived at Swanwick Junction and we waited an hour for her to appear, as she had not been disposed of properly the night before. By the time she was ready the sun had begun to emerge and we three punters were warmly welcomed by Driver Malcolm and Fireman John. We enjoyed five round trips (35 miles) and observed what fine form she is in after her rapid and comprehensive overhaul - I can hardly wait to see her and ride behind her on the main line!
For much more information about the Duchess, including forthcoming main line tours, go to www.prclt.co.uk