First steam locomotive since lockdown runs at the Great Central Railway

Credit: Michael Gough

BR Standard Class 2 78018 has been seen in steam and running at the Great Central Railway after repairs. This is believed to be one of the first steam locomotives to operate on a heritage railway since lockdown began due to coronavirus. The photographer, who wishes to remain unnamed, was out on his daily walk when he heard the sound of a steam locomotive whistle.

As he approached the bridge, along came 78018 running light engine.

First steam locomotive since lockdown runs at the Great Central Railway 78018 on test
Photographer requests to rename unnamed

Michael Gough, Managing Director of the Great Central Railway, told RailAdvent that on Monday, the railway had brought back ten staff from being furloughed to complete essential functions and to prepare for the re-opening of the railway. On Friday, BR Standard Class 2 78018 was put through trials following repair work (this was carried out prior to lockdown being put in place).

78018 had undergone a valve exam, with a new valve head needing to be fitted, and new valve rings also needing to be fitted alongside the turning of a pony truck wheel. Michael Gough said that tests were carried out with strict health and safety disciplines in place for the crew of 78018.

This included the driver and fireman wearing face coverings, and the guard in the coaches alone. The GCR are regularly reviewing the situation and are monitoring government advice and will re-open when it is safe to do so. Managing director, Michael Gough, told RailAdvent "Yesterday we took our first tentative steps towards opening up the Railway and, in doing so, providing our friends and supporters with some much needed "steam"

"We expect to run further tests to check our infrastructure in the coming 14 days to prepare for a return to operating as soon as government regulations allow.

Some much needed "steam therapy" in these difficult times!!!"

PLEASE NOTE: The Great Central Railway is CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC - please do not head to the railway and please do not trespass on the railway.

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