Empress leaves Isfield for new Blaenavon home

THE Pontypool & Blaenavon Railway (P&BR) took delivery of the newest addition to its steam fleet on September 13, just in time for the line’s steam gala on the 14th and 15th.

Bagnall 0-6-0ST Empress (3061/1954) made the move from the Lavender Line at Isfield, East Sussex, following its acquisition for use on the South Wales line.

Bagnall 0-6-0ST Empress stands at Isfield station on the Lavender Line on June 28, 2015. The former Cadley Hill locomotive has now moved to South Wales. GARY BOYD-HOPE

Empress immediately slotted into the gala timetable, replacing resident Robert Stephenson & Hawthorns ‘Austerity’ 0-6-0ST No. 71515 Mech Navvies Ltd (7169/1944), which failed with tube problems before the event.

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Unfortunately efforts to get the ‘Austerity’ ready for the gala were unsuccessful, and the railway is now investigating the quality of the failed boiler tubes, which were only fitted during a retube last year. The arrival of Empress was therefore very timely.

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