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.

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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