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Steam Trains Galore Basking In A Glorious July!

Published on: 13 Jul, 2017
Updated on: 16 Jul, 2017

By David Rose

Who would have thought in 1967 when steam locos were withdrawn from the Southern Region of British Railways that exactly 50 years on there would be so many running again in the local area?

July 2017 has seen a glorious number of steam-hauled special trains passing through or near Guildford, and here is around up of them with some superb photographs.

Malcolm Fincham pictured ‘Royal Scot’ approaching Guildford having passed under the road and footbridge on Stoughton Road. Click on all pictures to enlarge in a new window.

On Saturday, July 1, the Belmond British Pullman ran on a circular route to and from London Victoria via Staines, Guildford, Shalford and Redhill, hauled by former London, Midland & Scottish Railway No.46100 (BR number) ‘Royal Scot’.

Mike Bennett took this picture of ‘Royal Scot’ at St Catherine’s between the two tunnels, south of Guildford

This famous engine with the Royal Scot train was exhibited at the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago in 1933, and made a tour of the Dominion of Canada and the United States of America. The train covered 11,194 miles of the railroads of the North America continent and was inspected by more than three million people.

Mike Bennett took this photo of the nameplate of ‘Royal Scot’ as the engine paused to take water at Shalford.

After withdrawal from service it was bought by Billy Butlins of Butlins Holiday Camps in 1963 and has had a somewhat chequered history in preservation.

‘Royal Scot’ before departing from Shalford. Picture by Mike Bennett.

In 1971 it went to the Bressingham Steam Museum who eventually took ownership of it in 1989. Bought by the Royal Scot Locomotive and General Trust in 2009, it caught fire when being transported by road to the West Somerset Railway. The fire started on the lorry under the loco’s wheels.

Happily, Royal Scot had a major overall and returned to service in 2016.

‘Clan Line’ heads the Bournemouth Belle through Brookwood. Picture by Geoff Burch.

Wednesday, July 5, saw the re-run of a once famous train – the Bournemouth Belle. The train was hauled by former Southern Railway, Bulleid Pacific Merchant Navy Class, No.35028 (BR number) ‘Clan Line’. The train ran from London Waterloo to Bournemouth and back.

It was on duty again on Friday, July 7, hauling a private charter train from London Victoria and back, via Staines, Guildford, Shalford and Redhill, and again on Sunday, July 9, with the The Waterloo Sunset special, from London Waterloo to Yeovil and back, passing through Guildford and Woking later that evening.

Owned by the Merchant Navy Locomotive Preservation Society, ‘Clan Line’ is often seen on special trains that pass through the Guildford area, and she has been rather busy over the past few days!

Pictured by Ray Slack at Woking on Sunday, July 9, ‘Clan Line’ is on the last leg of its trip from London Waterloo to Yeovil and back. A delay of some 30 minutes at Haslemere meant that by the time it came through Guildford it was too dark to photograph. I (David Rose) stood on Yorkie’s Bridge, but my picture was somewhat blurred due to the low light!

For the past two years it had been out of action, having an major overall by LNWR Heritage at Crewe. It is now undertaking a busy schedule hauling mainline trains for Belmond, UK Railtours and Torbay Express Limited.

‘Clan Line’ was built at Eastleigh works in 1948. Rebuilt in the 1950s along with all other locos of its class (named after merchant shipping lines) it was withdrawn from BR service on July 2, 1967. It was then bought by the Merchant Navy Locomotive Preservation Society for £3,850. In 1974 it hauled its first revenue-earning train in preservation from Basingstoke to Westbury.

“Clan Line’ pictured by David Rose from ‘Monkey Bridge’ on Whitmoor Common, Worplesdon, on Monday, July 10.

Then on Monday, July 10, it was on a private charter from London Victoria and back (route as before). A fellow steam rail fan and photographer said that he had heard that one of these private charters had been by a London jeweller who had booked the train exclusively for its wealthy clients!

Ray Slack took this photo of ‘Clan Line’ at Shalford on Monday, July 10.

However, the locomotive booked for this was Bullied Pacific, Battle of Britain Class, No. 34046 ‘Braunton’ actually  appearing in the guise of fellow Bulleid Pacific No. 34052 ‘Lord Dowding’. But that loco developed a fault on shed at Stewarts Lane and stablemate ‘Clan Line’ took over.

A push bike, St Catherine’s lock gates and, oh yes, ‘Clan Line’ heading towards Shalford on Tuesday, July 11. Picture by David Rose.

And yet again, on Tuesday, July 11, it was ‘Clan Line’ over the same route with another private charter train.

One final shot of ‘Clan Line’ by David Rose on Tuesday, July 11, seen soon after passing through Chilworth station.

Finally, over the weekends of July 1 to 3 and 7 and 9, the Mid-Hants Railway at its Watercress line between Alton and Alresford hosted a steam gala to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of steam on BR’s Southern Region.

Battle Britain Class, No. 34081, ’92 Squadron’ at Ropley at the Mid-Hants Railway’s steam gala on Friday, July 7. Picture by David Rose.

In steam and pulling trains were: Merchant Navy Class, No.35006, ‘Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company’; Battle of Britain Class, No. 34081 ’92 Squadron’, and No.34053, ‘Sir Keith Park’; West Country Class, No.34046 “Braunton’ (running as No.34052 ‘Lord Dowding’); BR Standard 4 Tank, No.80078; former London, Midland & Scottish Class 2MT Tank, No.41312; and BR Standard Class 4MT, No. 76017.

Merchant Navy Class, No. 35006, ‘Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company’ at Alresford. Picture by David Rose.

London, Midland & Scottish Class 2MT Tank, No.41312, at Ropley. Picture by David Rose.

BR Standard Class 4MT, No. 76017. and BR Standard 4 Tank, No.80078, at Ropley. Picture by David Rose.

If you enjoy watching steam trains, this Saturday (July 15) sees another of the Belmond British Pullman trains passing through Guildford on its London Victoria and back round trip. ‘Clan Line’ is once again hauling it and for times click on to the UK Mainline Steam Railtours’ website.

Thanks to all those who contributed pictures to this post.

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Responses to Steam Trains Galore Basking In A Glorious July!

  1. Robert Hills Reply

    July 13, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    An interesting article and excellent photographs to mark this historic 50th anniversary of the end of Southern Steam.

    I visited the Mid-Hants Railway for three of the five days over the special event weekends and the video camera worked overtime at many scenic locations up and down line to record all the different locos in action each day. But the price to be paid was to sacrifice filming the mainline specials which ran on these three days as well.

    I did however manage to film the Bournemouth Belle with 35028 ‘Clan Line’ on July 5 at Clapham Junction, Totton Causeway and Romsey.

    On Sunday, July 9, I managed to film 35028 ‘Clan Line’ on The Waterloo Sunset at Hook in the morning and Farncombe, the latter location late evening at about 10pm.

    ‘Clan Line’ had to stop in Farncombe station platform for several minutes due to signalling problems on both up and down lines and with “safety valves” open “full tilt”.

    The sudden arrival of a steam train stopping in Farncombe station raised much local interest late on a Sunday evening. Mums and dads and small children suddenly appeared on site from all angles to witness this historic event!

    It eventually departed Farncombe at 22.07, 22 minutes late.

    That then raised the question in my mind, when was the last time a steam engine (either light engine or on a train) stopped in Farncombe station platform?

    I do not know the answer at this point but it obviously has to be 50-plus years ago.

    We see steam-hauled charters passing through Farncombe on occasions in this “modern steam age” but when did the last one actually stop?

    I suspect in the early-mid 1960s when steam engines used to “shunt” the Charterhouse School siding, which in those days was situated just off the down platform and only used when the school was either starting or finishing a school term.

    I say that from personal knowledge and experience, but does anyone know the answer?

  2. Paul Robinson Reply

    July 14, 2017 at 11:05 am

    Lovely photos, but in my opinion the summer is not the time for good steam photos. You need cooler temperatures to produce the steam clouds.

  3. Steve Pownall Reply

    July 19, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    Ooooh … David, ‘all’ Bulleid pacifics rebuilt?

    [All of the Merchant Navy Class Bulleid pacific locos that have made it into preservation were ones that had been rebuilt. Of the West County and Battle of Britain Classes that have been preserved, some are in original form with air-smoothed casing, while others are in the rebuilt style.]

  4. John Lomas Reply

    July 20, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    I saw BB 34053 Sir Keith Park last week on the M40 on a lowloader, presumably on it’s way back to Bridgnorth.

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