61264 ‘on shed’ at Fort William depot in 2004, in between ‘Jacobite’ duties. LNER K1 2-6-0 no. 62005 is in the background, posing at the time as ‘Lord of the Isles’. The mighty Ben Nevis is in the background.
1264 was steamed at Loughborough throughout 1997 but in 1998 moved to Carnforth for Main Line certification. This was achieved on 28th March when, in appalling weather, it successfully hauled a 420-ton train from Carnforth to Carlisle over Shap. A Heritage Lottery Fund grant had been obtained by the Trust to assist with the costs of certification as well as outstanding items such as the new tyres for the driving wheels.
In May 1998, 1264 was the star of London Underground’s ‘Steam on the Met’, appearing on the publicity posters for the popular event. However, the boiler suffered with recurrent leakage problems and was returned to Pridhams for further remedial work. Returned to Carnforth in 1999, the loco was re-assembled and visited the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, before a further test run over the Settle and Carlisle line.
In 1999, 61264 appeared, for the first time, working the summer ‘Jacobite’ steam trips from Fort William to Mallaig on the West Highland Line. Repainted in BR black livery for the 2000 season, the loco worked the line for seven more summers, as well as visiting other preservation centres, including the North Yorkshire Moors, West Somerset, Churnet Valley, East Lancashire and North Norfolk Railway. The loco also appeared at the 2005 Crewe Works Open Day, as well as hauling 39 charter tours, amounting to 11,000 miles of main line running during this period.
The locomotive was moved to Barrow Hill as home base during 2005. In 2007, 61264 worked on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway with through running to Whitby over the Network Rail ‘Esk Valley’ Line.
In April 2008, the loco was taken out of service, prior to the 10-year overhaul, having run over 80,000 miles.
First major overhaul 2008 – 2012