MORE than 5,500 passengers sampled a slice of modern railway history in mid-February when Peppercorn ‘A1’ Pacific No. 60163 Tornado returned scheduled steam-hauled service trains to the national network.
Between February 14 and 16, the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust’s Apple Green 4-6-2 took charge of Northern Rail’s 08.25 Appleby-Skipton service, returning on the 10.44 ex-Skipton.
The locomotive then had a two-and-a-half hour layover at Appleby before departing again on the 14.57, which arrived in Skipton at 16.30, then making one final run to Appleby at 17.15, arriving at 18.46.
Substituting for Northern’s regular DMU, the services, branded ‘I ♥ S&C’, comprised a rake of ex-Anglia Railways Mk2s with DB Cargo Class 67 No. 67029 on the Skipton end. Tornado operated chimney-first from Skipton, running tender-first on the outward legs from Appleby with the Class 67 in the inside.
The prospect of travelling on the first timetabled passenger services since 1968 (excluding Vale of Rheidol trains pre-1989 and the likes of the ‘Jacobite’) proved to be a big draw.
Huge crowds were reported at both Skipton and Appleby, and in some cases potential travellers were unable to board. However, the event was nevertheless considered a resounding success, paving the way for similar or repeat services at a later date.
■ The first steam-hauled railtour to work over the full-length of the Settle & Carlisle will be the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway’s Oxenhope to Carlisle run with ‘A3’ No. 60103 Flying Scotsman on March 31, marking the official reopening of the famous route.
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