Going Loco!     The Great Central Railway, Past and Present
by John Neave

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Past and Present - LNER 4-6-0 "B1" 5MT

The LNER answer to the LMS Black 5 was the Thompson B1 mixed traffic engine. These locos were the standard motive power on local, freight, mail and main line duties on the GCR for many years. I was fortunate enough to have many fine rides on the full length of the GCR behind these locos. In general the B1's performed with more verve than the Black 5's and the rundown Royal Scots that displaced them, but that must partly be due to the dispirited crews in the latter years of the GCR.

61264 Past

61264 on station pilot duties 7th April 1964

61264 Present

61264 in lined black livery leaves
Loughborough on 24th February 2001

Here are two views of the same engine almost 37 years apart! After withdrawal from Colwick in 1965, 61264 was used for a while as a stationary boiler, and then sent to Barry for scrapping (The only LNER engine to reach this yard). Rescued in 1976 a long-term rebuild eventually saw 61264 successfully in steam again in 1996. This fine loco is now being used on excursions throughout the UK. See the photo of 61264 on the front page.


61264 looks splendid in the sun and snow!
Loughborough 29th December 2000


61306 outside Loughborough shed,
May 1987 in apple green LNER livery

61306 was purchased in working condition from BR and initially was preserved at Carnforth. It came to the GCR in the 80's and provided excellent service for a number of years. It was named "Mayflower" after another scrapped member of the class, and was the last ER loco that worked into Marylebone in 1966.

LNER (GC) 2-8-0 "O4" 8F

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