Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

We’re getting there. A little late perhaps but we are getting there

Posted in Freight, Great Britain, Media, Rolling stock by Chairman Pip on 8 June 2011

Back in April, GB Railfreight found itself with too much work and not enough locomotives and so did what any rail company does when it is short of motive power; it hired extra. However, the extra motive power that it sourced caused quite a stir. To ensure sufficient Class 66s were available for its main line operations, for the twice daily run between North Blyth and Lynemouth for Alcan, GBRf hired in a Class 55, specifically the sole mainline registered unit, Royal Scots Grey. This was exciting for a whole lot of people, as it was the first time a Deltic had run in revenue earning service (i.e. not as a preserved locomotive) on the mainline since 1982. I’m fairly confident that Captain Deltic himself was so excited when he heard the news that he was bouncing around like Tigger. Not only that, but the news got widespread attention from the railway press, with many of the popular railway periodicals showing a picture of Royal Scots Grey hauling its load of freight wagons on the front of the first published issue after it started. The website run by the locomotive’s owners made the announcement on the 10th April. Now, given the affection felt for the Deltic, even if you aren’t a gricer, you’d have thought that seeing one back on the main line like this would have made the news pretty quickly, even if only in the “And finally…” section, which is after all where the news of the Deltic’s final withdrawal in 1982 ended up. So why is it that the BBC didn’t run the story until the 30th May? A bit too “geeky” for the bigwigs at the BBC? “Let’s have a bit of a giggle by running this story, we haven’t got anything better”? If the story was worth running, then why not run it once it was complete? Bah.

Royal Scots Grey on BBC Breakfast Monday 30th May”
“Deltic locomotive back in service due to freight demand”

Class 55 on a freight working in the north-east - given the importance of rail freight, both to the economy and the environment, isn't this an important, "let's get it out now" kind of story, rather than wait until it's nearly over to run it?


One Response

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  1. Chris said, on 8 June 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Publicity means people, and while ordinary enthusiasts can sometimes *cross the line* when it comes to trespassing, people who havent kept up with the hobby can be much, much worse as mainline steam often shows when it gets in the press – if Alcan had complained about people being a nuisance at Lynemouth or delaying that and other services, that would’ve been the end of it. I think we should be thankful GBRf/Rio Tinto Alcan even allowed it, let alone invited the press to see their use of an old, smokey diesel!

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