Severn Valley and Gloucs-Warks for blue ‘King’ as main line plans are suspended

SINGLE-chimney ‘King’ No. 6023 King Edward II will see its operation restricted to heritage lines for the foreseeable future after the Great Western Society (GWS) put its main line aspirations for the Collett 4-6-0 on hold.

The road to main line certification has not been a smooth one for the Didcot-based ‘King’, and since its return to steam in 2011 No. 6023 has yet to venture onto the main line under its own power.

Yet to fulfil its true potential, the Great Western Society’s ‘King’ No. 6023 King Edward II emerges from Foley Park Tunnel on February 24 with its first test run from Kidderminster on the Severn Valley Railway. JOHN TITLOW

In 2013 the loco was fitted with reduced-height boiler fittings to bring it within Network Rail’s kinematic envelope, and No. 6023 also received a new blastpipe and improved draughting arrangements.

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However, it has been the need to test the new draughting system that has created one of the biggest hurdles for the GWS. Gauging restrictions on parts of the national network have prevented No. 6023 from venturing away from its home shed, in spite of co-operation from Network Rail, leading the GWS to undertake a review of the situation.

With around two years left on its boiler ticket, the society has regretfully decided to postpone its plans for main line operation.

Read more in March’s issue of The RM – on sale now!

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