5305LA Locos Endure Intense Activity All Over Great Britain
5305LA locos 45305 and 70013 featured prominently on the prestigious nine day charter train, Great Britain V (GB V), which ran from the 21st to the 28th April. As the name of this Railway Touring Company sponsored special suggests it covered large parts of the country and was running for the fifth consecutive year. Our locos were involved on the first and penultimate day, as well as three other intermediate days.
On Saturday 21st April 70013 took over the train, which had begun at Kings Cross, at York and hauled it to Edinburgh. The 'Brit' returned south to Carnforth the following day with its support coach. On the same day, 45305 ran with its own support coach on a mammoth trip from Carnforth to Inverness. One portion of GB V reached Inverness on Sunday 22nd April and on the Monday the 'Five' took this on to the Kyle of Lochalsh. Despite stalling on the climb to Raven Rock because of poor rail conditions, 45305 was able to continue after the rails had been hand sanded and reached the west coast destination without further problem. Here passengers swapped to a coach onto Skye and a ferry to Mallaig, whilst the remainder who had been on the other portion staying overnight in Fort William used ferry and bus to get from Mallaig to the Kyle and were taken back to Inverness by 45305 running tender first.
More miles were racked up by the 'Five' the following day with an 'engine and van' move to Cadder Yard near Glasgow from where, on Wednesday 25th April 45305 paired up with 45407 to double head GB V from the Glasgow area to Stranraer and back into Glasgow Central. The final move back south to Carnforth was completed the next day.
45305 was stabled for a well-earned rest but now it was the turn of the 'Brit' to take over proceedings. Friday 27th April saw it leave Carnforth to pick up GB V at Preston and take it on to Bristol. An overnight stop here was followed by 70013 double heading GB V with 34067 from Bristol to Penzance, after which both locos moved to St Blazey near Par for stabling.
Although that ended 5305LA locos' involvement in GB V, RTC had a further charter on the 5th May in order to get them back east. This was The Royal Duchy which had the pair of 70013 and 34067 combining once again, this time back to Bristol with the train and then moving on to their Southall base later in the evening.
It has been an intense fortnight for 45305 and 70013, During that period, 45305 ran just under 1,100 miles and 70013 just over 1,200 miles.
Whilst 45305 has a period of rest in front of it, there is no such letup for the 'Brit'. Cromwell will be out again on the 18th May, moving down to Bristol to be in postion to work a Bristol-Par-Bristol charter for RTC on the 19th. The following weekend 70013 is scheduled on a charter originating at St Pancras and which will use the new connection onto Peak Rail at Matlock. Whilst the Golden Arrow trains at beginning of June have been postponed to September, Oliver Cromwell is still busy at that time, with a London-York charter for the NRM Railfest on Tuesday 5th June, the loco staying there on display for the remainder of the Festival.