After failing on examination for its two runs on the Great Britain X tour with a hairline crack in the firebox back plate 60009 Union of South Africa’s future for main line running was very much in doubt but fortunately owner John Cameron decided to go ahead with remedial repairs with Riley & son who also look after Flying Scotsman. Unfortunately the hopeful re-emergence on a main line tour is five days after it was due to appear on the Dartmouth Express on June 9th! However all being well we will get to see it in September when it is booked to power two Torbay Expresses on the 2nd and the 16th.
The other steam news is that an authentic Great Western engine may well be available for the first Royal Duchy express on July 22nd. According to the latest edition of Steam Railway Tyseley based Castle Class 5043 “Earl of Mount Edcumbe” should be available if a small amount of repair work is completed. It is a fine locomotive that has not been down this way since 2014 when it beat the record of Clun Castle for the timing between Plymouth and Bristol. Fingers crossed then.
Not steam but there was an appearance last week of a second mini HST Castle set, currently composed of three passenger coaches between the two HST power cars 43093 & 43156. Apologies for the garish red of the Sandstone cliffs when some idiot had the camera on the wrong setting!