Thompson B1 no. 1264 is moving to the Nottingham Heritage Railway (NHR) to begin its next overhaul, departing from its operating base of the last 10 years at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR).
The move to the NHR, formerly known as the Great Central Railway (Nottingham), is in many ways a return to its spiritual home, for 1264 (as 61264) ended its career with British Railways when it was withdrawn from the nearby Colwick depot in 1967, having spent a period of time acting as a stationary boiler. The NHR is also an historically appropriate base because B1s, including 1264, were regular performers on the Great Central mainline.
1264 last ran on the NYMR in 2019 but was withdrawn from traffic in March 2020 following the discovery of cracks in the firebox. These will need to be rectified as part of the overhaul – it will likely mean an entirely new inner firebox, as well as needing attention to the axleboxes and hornguides, new tender tank, and new tyres.
The Thompson B1 Locomotive Trust (TBLT) have been custodians of the locomotive since it was rescued from Barry in 1976. A 21-year restoration was originally completed at the GCR (Loughborough), culminating in a return to steam in 1997. The loco has had two lengthy periods in traffic, from 1997 to 2008 and from 2012 to 2019, the latter being worked almost exclusively at the NYMR. Throughout those periods the loco has been mainline registered and has travelled far and wide including doing time on the ‘Jacobite’ operation and taking part in the ‘Great Britain’ railtours in 2018 and 2019. The Trust intend to keep the locomotive mainline registered, the NHR’s soon-to-be restored connection to the mainline being another factor in the Trust’s decision to move it to Ruddington.
Dave Horton, Secretary of the TBLT, said, “We are very grateful to have had the opportunity to operate at the NYMR over the last decade and we have made many friends there. However it has been a struggle to support the locomotive from such a distance and because many of our members and in particular our engineers are based in the Midlands, it is time to bring the loco closer to home. We are committed to keeping the locomotive available for both heritage railway and mainline work.”
Chris Price, the NYMR’s CEO commented that, “The B1 has been a popular and dependable performer on a line to which it is ideally suited, so we are sorry to see it leave. We wish the Trust well with the funding of the next overhaul and the Locomotive’s early return to service”.
Designed by Edward Thompson, Chief Mechanical Engineer of the London North Eastern Railway (LNER), the B1 class was a wartime utility mixed-traffic locomotive for general passenger and freight duties. A total of 410 were built between 1942 and 1952 and were to be found throughout the former LNER system in England, Scotland and, for a short period, on the Southern Region. 1264 was built at the Glasgow works of the North British Locomotive Company (works number 26165), at a contract price of £16,190.
The Thompson B1 Locomotive Trust is keen to encourage new members; 1264 is now the only mainline-registered B1 which members of the public can get involved with and have a ‘stake’ in, the other example (61306 ‘Mayflower’) having been in private ownership for a long time and has recently been acquired by the Locomotive Services Group at Crewe.
There will be plenty of opportunities for members to get involved with the overhaul at Ruddington.
It is very easy to sign-up for membership online, please visit https://membermojo.co.uk/thompsonb1
Donations towards the next overhaul would also be very much appreciated and this can be done though the TBLT website: https://www.thompsonb1.org/donate/