This seventy year old steam locomotive came through Milton Keynes on the West Coast Main Line last Friday, on its way to Euston after a tour of the Scottish Highlands.
Engine 61306, ‘Mayflower’, was pulling the sort of carriage that I remember from the late 60s and the early 70s.
At the rear was an old diesel locomotive, but the Mayflower was doing all the work. I think the diesel was just there as a back up; I seem to remember it’s a requirement of taking an old engine onto the railway network.
Mayflower was completed in 1948, and built to a London North Eastern Railway design. By the time it was finished the railways had been privatised, so the locomotive went to work for British Railways until it was withdrawn from service in 1967.
I had fallen into conversation with a rail enthusiast a couple of days earlier who had told me about this train, so I was ready and waiting on the bridge just after six o’clock on Friday evening.
Several trains went up and down the four sets of tracks while I waited. It’s a busy line. At just before 6:28pm the train approached. It was a warm and sunny evening, but now the cutting was in shadow.
The driver sounded the whistle; I think he had seen me. He was kind enough to be wearing a nice red shirt that showed up well against the LNER green of the locomotive, as he drove the train with his elbow on the window sill.
Thanks for the tip, Ken.