THE sight of a Somerset & Dorset ‘7F’ 2-8-0 double-heading with a ‘4F’ 0-6-0 was once common in the south west of England, but unheard of in the wilds of West Yorkshire… until early March when the classic S&D combination featured in the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway’s Spring Gala.
The Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust’s No. 53808 arrived by road from its West Somerset Railway home late on March 6, just three days after the other star guest – BR ‘Britannia’ No. 70013 Oliver Cromwell.
Unfortunately, day one of the gala did not quite go according to plan for the visiting 2-8-0 after a fault was discovered during the morning warm up, and the loco was failed with a weeping washout plug.
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USATC ‘S160’ No. 5820 ‘Big Jim’ took the ‘7F’s’ turns during the morning, but the problem with No. 53808 had been rectified by lunchtime, and the loco ventured out during the afternoon, substituting for ‘4F’ No. 43924.
Ian Riley’s ‘Black Five’ 4-6-0 No. 44871 could be seen in action during the day, sometimes with Taff Vale 0-6-2T No. 85 on the rear, while BR ‘4MT’ 4-6-0 No. 75078 and LNWR 0-6-2T ‘Coal Tank’ No. 1054 were also in action; the latter made a fine pairing with No. 85. Similarly, the two BR Standards looked well when working together, and at one point the ‘Britannia’ was paired with the ‘S160’.
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