‘Duchess’ makes Swanage Railway gala debut

No. 6233 Duchess of Sutherland was in deepest Dorset making its preservation debut on Swanage Railway metals – just a week prior to the East Lancashire Railway gala.

The LMS 4-6-2 was one of three Pacifics in action at the October 12-14 event which, like the Great Central Railway gala, was loosely themed around the 1948 Locomotive Exchanges.

Bulleid ‘Battle of Britain’ Pacific No. 34072 257 Squadron draws into Corfe Castle station as No. 6233 Duchess of Sutherland waits on the opposite road during the Swanage Railway gala on October 14. ANDREW P M WRIGHT

The other two were both examples of Bulleid’s ‘Battle of Britain’ class from the Southern Locomotives Ltd (SLL) stable – No. 34072 257 Squadron making its first gala appearance since 2003, and rebuilt classmate No. 34053 Sir Keith Park, which itself was returning after three months out for repair (oddly with two numbers missing from the cabsides).

The return of 257 Squadron to frontline service has been long-awaited by the railway, the loco having worked the first trains on the heritage line back in 1990.

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