The Nene Valley Railway hosted an A1A Group organised celebration for the 60th birthday of the venerable Class 31s; the first example was completed in late September 1957. With support from various railways and organisations, this saw 31108, 31162, 31271, 31285, 31452, 31459, 31465 and 31466 come together to operate trains over the weekend of 14th and 15th October 2017. The examples carry a wide range of liveries so provide a decent representation of the classes history.
There was a break in the Sun late on Sunday afternoon which allowed a few decent shots.
31452 – provided by DCR – is currently the only Class 31 left in mainline service, aged 56. This machine hasn’t done badly really; returned to traffic from scrap condition by Fragonset Railways in 1998 (being displayed at the Toton Open Day) and 19 years it is still going strong. In that time it has passed to FM Rail then to Mainline Rail after FM Rail was wound up. It then passed on to Devon and Cornwall Railways.
31285 was one of three locos provided by HNRC – the other being 31459 and 31465. Wearing Network Rail yellow livery and bearing some additions to the front end used with the test trains, it slows for the restriction over the River Nene bridge with a service from Peterborough to Wansford. Network Rail had a fleet of four locos, operating test trains around the country which were progressively retired up until the last one was stopped in 2015.
Just as the sun sets, 31162 bearing its previous identity of 5580 (or D5580) was the first Class 31 acquired by the A1A locomotive group in the early 1990s and retains a working (albeit isolated due to requiring an inspection) steam heat boiler. It is running with 31271 which is also an A1A owned machine.
The East Lancs Railway held their Summer diesel gala over the first weekend of July featuring visitors from the SRPS stable of engines. 20020, 26038, 37025 and 47643 featured alongside resident and long term loan visitors. The Sunday of the gala was changeable weather wise, starting off cloudy before the sun broke through and then ended with a monsoon in the afternoon.
Starting off at Irwell Vale, 37109 waits departure for Rawtenstall. Looking quite weatherbeaten now, the exhauster seems to be burning oil – hence the blue smoke coming from the exhaust outlet behind the buffer beam.
On to Springside Farm before the weather closed in; 47643, 31466 and 40145 all dodging clouds.
Nene Valley Railway held their annual diesel gala over the weekend of the 11th and 12th April 2015. Reduced from a twice yearly event to yearly due to financial issues, a number of visiting locos were rostered. Particularly appealing were a Class 56 from UKRL and a Class 60 from DB Schenker (as was 37190 before it was pulled from the lineup). DBS locos are making something of a comeback on the gala circuit…
50008 shares shed spare with 31271, 31601 and 60001 at Wansford.
56104 came from the UK Rail Leasing stable at Leicester. Seen here leaving Peterborough station for Wansford.
60001 also leaving Peterborough for Wansford.
50015 came from the East Lancs Railway seen arriving at Orton Mere, plough end leading.
In light of the return of 31459 ‘Cerberus’ to working order, here are a couple of shots of it at Manchester Piccadilly and Stockport in 2009 working 1Q18 Longsight to Longsight via the world.
Serco men were route learning round the Blyth and Tyne route which necessitated a trip (nearly) up to the Alcan import terminal at North Blyth. 31454 was the traction of choice and it is seen here at the NR limit at North Blyth – denoted by the small sign at track level). In the distance you can see the floodlights of the newly built Battleship Wharf coal import terminal. 18/09/08
GB Railfreight provided 73209 and 73206 for the Sep 2005 gala at the Nene Valley, appearing alongside the resident fleet of 31271, 40106 and 56057.