End-of-year reprieve for Erlestoke Manor

THE Severn Valley Railway (SVR) has been buoyed by the news that Collett 4-6-0 No. 7812 Erlestoke Manor will be able to see out the remainder of the year in traffic and not be withdrawn in April, as originally anticipated.

Starting as it means to go on: ‘Manor’ No. 7812 Erlestoke Manor runs alongside Northwood Lane with a post-New Year train on January 2. The Cambrian-style painted buffers and smokebox door hinges are likely to remain for the rest of the year. ANDREW BELL

The news came following the locomotive’s annual cold exam and steam test on February 3 by British Engineering Services, which deemed the ‘Manor’ fit to continue running until December 31 thanks in part to the devastating Highley flooding of 2007.

Although the clock started ticking on the 1939-built loco’s current boiler certificate in April 2007, the severe floods of that year delayed its return to operation and the 4-6-0 did not actually enter active service until February 2008, working the SVR’s post-flood reopening train on March 20. With evidence proving that No. 7812 had not worked during the line’s closure, the boiler inspectors felt that a review of the boiler certificate’s end date was justified.

Erlestoke Manor has accumulated more than 80,000 miles since its last overhaul, and owners the Erlestoke Manor Fund (EMF) are already making arrangements to begin its next overhaul in January next year.

It is expected that No. 7812 and the EMF’s other ‘Manor’ – No. 7802 Bradley Manor – will play key roles in the SVR’s September gala, which looks set to have a Cambrian theme.

No. 7812’s reprieve provides a little breathing room for the loco fleet, hopefully overlapping with the return to service of Riddles ‘4MT’ 4-6-0 No. 75069.

Read more News in the March issue of The RM – out now!

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