70013 Oliver Cromwell had a busy few days recently, in which it hauled two charter trains for two different companies.
On Friday 19th October, Cromwell moved from its Southall depot to Barnetby in Lincolnshire with its support coach, stabling there overnight before the following day's Railway Touring Company charter to Chester. Very early on the Saturday morning, the stock was taken to Cleethorpes station by two diesel locomotives with 70013 plus support coach on the rear. The diesels were detached and 70013 left at 06.05 with the ten coach train containing a smattering of passengers. More were picked up along the way, mainly at Doncaster, before the charter went forward to Chester via Sheffield and the picturesque route along the Hope Valley and through the Delamere Forest. After turning and servicing in Chester, Cromwell took the reverse route back to Doncaster where it was replaced by the diesels for the journey back to Cleethorpes. The 'Brit' then went with its support coach to the National Railway Museum in York for stabling until its second rail tour the following Tuesday.
After preparation at the Museum during Sunday and Monday, Cromwell was ready for its second charter in four days. This time it took over from 60009 Union of South Africa, which had brought the Steam Dreams special from Kings Cross. After turning on the relatively new turntable at the Thrall Europa complex adjoining the York avoiding line, 70013 attached to the stock in Holgate sidings and propelled the train into York station. The 12 coach train left on time but was subject to delays caused by late running service trains during the southern half of its journey, arriving into Kings Cross about half an hour late. Nevertheless, 70013 had acquitted itself well on the East Coast Main Line once again and received accolades from many passengers who departed at the London terminus.
The next job for Cromwell is a one way trip on Saturday 2nd November from the Severn Valley Railay to the Bluebell Railway, using the new connection at East Grinstead to access the Bluebell.
Meanwhile 'Black Five' No. 45305 continues to work on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway. It will have extensive use in December when it is booked to work on each of the Santa Special weekends in the run up to Christmas.