On what I believe to be the first time this locomotive has headed the Torbay Express is Southern region 35028 Clan Line. Built by British Railways in December 1948 at Eastleigh works this Merchant Navy class engine appeared in Malachite green livery with “air smoothed” casing as designed by Oliver Bulleid. In January 1951 it was repainted in the short lived BR Passenger Blue livery and named by Lord Rotherwick, the chairman of the Clan shipping line. In June 1953 it was repainted again into the BR Express green usually referred to as Brunswick green. In October 1959 it was rebuilt to its current more conventional form and was the last of the class of 30 engines to be rebuilt. In the last days of steam on the Southern Region in 1967 the drivers of this type of locomotive pulled out all the stops on the expresses and recorded speeds close to and above the 100 mph mark to go out in a blaze of glory before they were replaced by diesel or electric traction. Clan Line has been a very infrequent visitor to the Dawlish sea wall and is usually to be found working the Belmond British Pullman circular tours out of London Victoria. It has only very recently had its major overhaul at Crewe and looks to be in an immaculate as new condition. The photographs and short video were taken at Exeter St. Davids in June 2015. For those wondering about the steam that can be seen coming out the back of the tender it is from the steam driven air compressor that supplies the braking for the coaches. It is timed to pass through Dawlish at 11.29am and return at 5.42pm.on Sunday 20th August. It will be doing the same tour a fortnight later on September 3rd when there will also be a Royal Duchy express headed by SR 34046 Braunton (in the guise of 34052 Lord Dowding). These will pass within 20 minutes or so of each other in the morning but the Duchy doesn’t return until around 8pm. A treat for steam fans not to be missed.

There has been a disappointing announcement for next year. The Gt. Britain steam rail tour in April which has been travelling along the sea wall for the last ten years en route to Penzance is going to miss out Devon and Cornwall altogether. Starting from London it heads north to Scotland from where it comes back through the Lake District and Wales, through the Severn tunnel and via Bath and Westbury to Swanage before heading home for London.

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