GWR steam locomotive 4953 ‘Pitchford Hall’ will feature at the Severn Valley Railway’s Autumn Steam Gala following a change to the lineup, taking the place of the originally arranged LMS 6233 ‘Duchess of Sutherland’.
“We’re thrilled that ‘Pitchford Hall’ will be joining us later this month,” said general manager Helen Smith. “This really is a splendid locomotive, and its unusual livery of BR lined black is very eye-catching – we think it’s going to prove very popular.
“We’re sorry that the Duchess of Sutherland won’t be able to join us for our special event, but like any other heritage steam locomotive, unexpected problems do arise. We hope that we’ll be able to welcome 6233 to the SVR in the not-too-distant future.”
Martin White, head of engineering for SVR, explained issues affecting 6233: “The loco has been undergoing some extensive repairs and maintenance at its base in Ripley, Derbyshire.
“Quite late in the work schedule, a problem was identified with the driving-wheel axle boxes. Some of the metal bearing surface had cracked and become loose, necessitating replacement. Unfortunately this is not going to be completed in time for our event.”
‘Pitchford Hall’ has been based on the Epping and Ongar Railway since 2012.
The Hall class is considered by some to be the first true mixed-traffic locomotive. 4953 clocked up 1,344,464 miles during its working life, before it was withdrawn and sent to a scrap yard at Barry in 1963. It spent more than two decades there before being rescued. It wasn’t until February 2004 that it steamed again, in preservation.
‘Pitchford Hall’ joins the other guest locomotive, GWR pannier tank 9466, and members of the SVR’s home fleet for the four-day Autumn Steam Gala, between 16 and 19 September. Day rover tickets are pre-bookable at www.svr.co.uk or can be purchased on the day.