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The Churnet Valley Railway has announced its summer programme of services, which includes a new guest locomotive in the guise of a Class 47 diesel locomotive.
Brush-built Class 47 47292 is joining the Churnet Valley’s resident diesel fleet to supplement Class 33s 33021 and 33102. It is due to arrive in the next few weeks from its present base at Great Central North Ruddington, and will be staying at the Churnet Valley for an initial loan period of five years.
Built in 1966 at Crewe Works, the locomotive entered service on 16th April that year as D1994. It was withdrawn from mainline service by Freightliner on 31st December 2003, and entered preservation with its current owner on 12th June 2007. Since then, it has primarily been based at the Great Central North, with a limited number of visits to other preserved lines.
The planned timetable for this year includes a scheduled diesel service. On eleven Saturdays throughout the summer, one of the resident diesel fleet or 47292 will operate the 10.30 departure from Froghall to Ipstones. The locomotive will operate a 20-mile return trip that includes the steep gradients of the Cauldon branch. The first of these services will depart on Saturday, 11th June, to the Blue Timetable, which includes an early evening service to enjoy the longer daylight hours in the Churnet Valley.
Although obtaining a guaranteed supply of coal has become a problem for all heritage railways, the decision to run a regular diesel service was taken to assist with crew competence and provide an opportunity for the railway’s diesel locomotives to have a regular guaranteed turn.
The railway plans to run regular diesel-hauled services on a more regular basis along the Churnet Valley as it progresses with its Reconnect Leek extension. To further enhance these services, the engineering team is planning to construct a dedicated steam heat vehicle that will enable the services to run during the colder winter months. It will also increase flexibility on those occasions when a steam locomotive is unavailable.
For further information about the railway and to book tickets, please visit http://churnetvalleyrailway.co.uk
This article first appeared on www.railadvent.co.uk
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