Saturday, 28 October 2017

The Return of 7029 "Clun Castle"...

"No7029 'Clun Castle' Stands In Steam At Tyseley"
Tyseley has always been a haven for Great Western steam. From its working days as the thriving 84E shed to its glowing engineering business supporting the preservation era, the Birmingham site has become a stronghold for all things GWR. The pride of the impressive fleet are without a doubt the Castle Class 4-6-0s, of which Tyseley have not one, not two but three! We're all familiar with the astonishing achievements of No5043 "Earl of Mount Edgcumbe" and many a Quainton visitor will have come across No5080 "Defiant" in recent years as up until recently she was on permanent display there. The youngest of the trio and the undoubted Tyseley pioneer is No7029 "Clun Castle", built under BR at Swindon in 1950. When withdrawn in 1965 the engine was saved by the late Patrick Whitehouse and has lived at the former 84E ever since. Over the years a selection of other locomotives have joined the collection but "Clun" is forever known as "the one that started it all".

I've been involved with Tyseley for two years now and in that time 7029 has been going through the final stages of overhaul. This week, after a mammoth effort by the engineering staff, "Clun Castle" returned to steam in time for her special re-commissioning weekend. This morning, at 7:30am, a pair of double chimney Castles were seen in steam together for the first time since BR days. Amazing...
"The Historic Moment As 5043 & 7029 Meet Together In Steam"
Today was a private event with a couple of hundred invited guests from across the preservation world. There were a lot of big names there from the world of steam. I arrived at 7am and helped throughout the morning with odd jobs on and around the locomotives. It was the first time I'd seen "Clun" in steam, although there is no doubt a photograph of a much younger me stood next to her at the GCR during her last ticket squirreled away in a box somewhere. The rededication of 7029 was scheduled for 11am and the Castle was at the top of the yard awaiting the call. Right on time, she steamed down through the yard to meet the admiring crowds...
As usual Tyseley have done a stunning job and the BR livery with fantastic lining is a real treat for the eye. Another beautiful Castle...
Down at the turntable "Clun" was posed for photographs before being brought forward for the rededication ceremony...
It was a lovely service. The nameplate was unveiled to the applause of the crowds, the engine was blessed by Patrick Whitehouse's daughter Maggie and a bottle of bubbly was broken over a buffer. Tyseley Chairman Michael Whitehouse spoke fondly of growing up with "Clun Castle" and the importance of her to the collection. I thought it was a fantastic way to welcome 7029 back into steam. Watching from the side lines was her beautiful elder sister 5043...
Three engines were in steam today: the two Castles and 7752 (L94). 52' has recently returned from her summer holidays to the Dartmouth Steam Railway where we had a ride behind her back in August. The engine is pictured steam heating the two-coach shuttle train whilst the ceremony continues...
Near lunch time 7029 & 5043 began to strut up and down the demo line to the delight of onlookers. At the rear of the shed the lovely Peckett W7 No1 was awaiting her turn of duty the next day. I just love this little engine. She really shows just how nice a well preserved Peckett can be...
Alongside No1, Hall Class "Rood Ashton Hall" was being warmed for tomorrows open day. As the sun came out, so did 7029...
The roaring bark of "Clun"s double chimney echoed all around as she pulled her sister up to the top of the yard. "Edgcumbe" then did the honours, hauling the younger Castle back towards the turntable with drain cocks hissing...
The two Castles are pictured awaiting another run up the demo line...
Driver Dean Morris awaits the off on 5043 as 7029 summons her strength...
Whilst the two Castles romped up and down the demo line I managed to snap the single chimney 5080 as she sat cold around the turntable. I believe the plan was for BR to double chimney the whole of the class but the ever nearing end of steam on the Western region put pay to that. Personally I'd love to see "Defiant" run again, just to experience what a finely tuned single chimney variant could do! Donations are being taken towards the overhaul of the third Castle in the group...
I only did half a day today at the former 84E as I have some studying to do at home. I'll be there throughout the day tomorrow for the public open day: six engines are planned to be in steam! Thanks for reading all and welcome back 7029. Another beautiful job from Tyseley: the King of the Castles...

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