‘B1’ and City of Wells for Great Central ‘Exchange Trials’ gala

LNER-liveried Thompson ‘B1’ 4-6-0 No. 1264 and ‘West Country’ Pacific No. 34092 City of Wells are to headline the Great Central Railway’s (GCR) Autumn Steam Gala on September 4-7.

The event will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the famous British Railways Locomotive Exchange Trials of 1948, with the guest locomotives both representative of classes that took part in the mixed traffic trials over the Midland, Great Central, Highland and South Devon main lines in June and July that year.

LNER ‘B1’ No. 61251 Oliver Bury leaves St Pancras with the 10.15am express to Manchester Central on June 7 during the 1948 Locomotive Exchange Trials. Preserved ‘B1’ No. 1264 will adopt this identity during its visit to the Great Central Railway’s autumn gala. F R HEBRON/RAIL ARCHIVE STEPHENSON

During the trials, ‘B1’ No. 61251 Oliver Bury was tested on the South Devon and Midland Main Lines, while classmate No. 61292 was pitted against the Highland Main Line. Therefore, to give the event a more authentic feel agreement has been reached with the Thompson B1 Locomotive Trust for No. 1264 to assume the identity of No. 61251 for the gala.

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