61994 The Great Marquess

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61994 The Great Marquess

61994 The Great Marquess (LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway 3442) was resident on the SVRSevern Valley Railway between 1972 and 2005, and returned as a Gala visitor in spring 2010.

Service

The Great Marquess is an LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway K4 class 3-cylinder 2-6-0 MogulLocomotive with a 2-6-0 wheel configuration locomotive, designed by Sir Nigel GresleySir Nigel Gresley, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the London & North Eastern Railway 1923-1941 for use on the West Highland Line from Glasgow to Fort William and Mallaig. The locomotive was out-shopped from the LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway Darlington works in June 1938 and entered service as LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway No 3442. A post-war renumbering exercise by the LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway saw the locomotive become No 1994 in September 1946, with a further re-numbering to 61994 by BRBritish Rail or British Railways in 1948.

The locomotive’s working life was mostly spent at the Glasgow and Fort William depots, before being withdrawn from service by BRBritish Rail or British Railways at Dunfermline Upper depot in December 1961.

Preservation

In 1962 the locomotive was bought by Viscount Garnock (later the Earl of Lindsay), and under his ownership worked a number of main line rail tours between May 1963 and April 1967. This included the Stephenson Locomotive Society tour on 19 September 1965 from Birmingham Snow Hill via Worcester to Bewdley, from where the Society visited Alveley with a special train hauled by GWRGreat Western Railway locomotives 4555 and 1420.[1] Following the BRBritish Rail or British Railways steam ban, the locomotive was stored in Leeds awaiting boiler repairs.

By the early 1970s, Viscount Garnock was already associated with the fledgling SVRSevern Valley Railway, being a non-executive Director of both the original Severn Valley Railway Company and its successor, SVRSevern Valley Railway(H), from incorporation in 1972. The locomotive was moved to the SVRSevern Valley Railway for overhaul on 9 September of that year, a condition of the move being that it could be used there once restored. Steaming was achieved in 1973 with 200 miles being recorded. However the locomotive’s axle weight in excess of 19 tons exceeded the limit of 17 tons 12 cwt in the SVRSevern Valley Railway's Light Railway Order granted in May 1970. The locomotive was therefore stored while discussions took place over a possible transfer to another railway. In the meantime a program of work was underway to upgrade the line, as a result of which the locomotive remained at the SVRSevern Valley Railway.

The Great Marquess was next steamed in 1989, appearing in LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway livery as No 3442. She was re-named by BRBritish Rail or British Railways Chairman Sir Robert Reid at a ceremony held on 18 April. Although not fully run in, the locomotive starred at the Spring Gala four days later. In early July The Great Marquess set off for a fortnight on the West Highland Line between Fort William and Mallaig. On 15 July the Earl, although ill, rode on the footplate of his engine as it departed from Fort William. Sadly he died 16 days later on 1 August 1989.

The following years saw the Great Marquess on a regular stint of main line railtours, interspersed with periodic returns to the SVRSevern Valley Railway for repairs and working on the SVRSevern Valley Railway itself. At the end of 1997, shortly after being repainted into BRBritish Rail or British Railways livery as 61994, the locomotive suffered a failure of the crank axle and joined the SVRSevern Valley Railway’s ‘long term’ repair queue.

In April 2003 the locomotive was bought from the family of the late Earl of Lindsay by John Cameron. Plans were announced for an overhaul and repair of the driving axle at the SVRSevern Valley Railway. However it transpired that the overhaul could not be completed in the timescale required by the new owner, and The Great Marquess left the SVRSevern Valley Railway in spring of 2005.

In March 2010 the locomotive made a return visit to the SVRSevern Valley Railway, in BRBritish Rail or British Railways Black livery as 61994, for the spring ‘Reunion’ Gala.

She last ran in October 2015. In 2017 it was announced she would be withdrawn from active service and from 2019 be housed permanently in a new 'Farming and Railway Visiting Centre' at Balbuthie, St Monans with LNER 60009 Union of South Africa.[2]

See also

References

  1. Six Bells Junction
  2. Steam Railway Magazine 27 January 2017

SVRSevern Valley Railway News
Severn Valley Railway Stock Book, seventh edition.