Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Gresley A4 pacific 'Bittern' at Crewe today

I nipped down to Crewe by train today to see A4 pacific 'Bittern'. She is back as herself having been masquerading as 'Dominion of New Zealand' for a while. She was en route from the Severn Valley Railway to pick up fellow LNER loco 'The Great Marquess' (a K4) from Crewe Heritage Centre and proceed to Barrow Hill (presumably for the upcoming gala there).

While awaiting 'Bittern' at Crewe, this Class 86 took my eye. These were once lead passenger locomotives on the West Coast Main line, designated AL6 when introduced in the late 1960s. Now many have been scrapped but some, like this example, survive in the freight haulage role.

 A Virgin 'Pendelino' rushes through the station non stop on the centre roads

 At last 'Bittern' appeared with her support coach, out of the yards south of Crewe and reversed into the station.

She was held in the station for the best part of an hour, before reversing north and onto the Chester line. The cylinder drain cocks are open after her long stand, wreathing her in steam but not obscuring her name.

A few minutes later 'Bittern' headed back to the station off the Chester line
 .....now switched to a platform road
Here she awaited being routed from the station to the Heritage Centre to pick up the K4. By now she was about two hours behind schedule, and I can only assume that she eventually completed her mission. She was still waiting in the station when I left for home on an afternoon train.


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