Saturday, 24 September 2016

Ceremonial Lower Darwen Coal Fired 76084

Back in July 2013 at the Return to Steam speechifying our President, Steve Davies MBE carried with him a carrier bag and with the phrase "If 76084 cannot go to Lower Darwen then Lower Darwen has come to 76084" he proceeded to take a brick out of the bag. The brick he assured us was from the site of the former Motive Power Depot.

So Steve is no stranger to scratting around the undergrowth above Ewood Park next to the Blackburn to Bolton line. He even took your author up there on one occasion just to show me how easy it was to find old relics from the past use of the site. Another geological dig around the site of the coaling stage of the former home of 76084 revealed several pieces of coal that had been hidden there for over half a century. Steve found another carrier bag and left the site with the coal.

Making himself available for the Loaded Test run on Tuesday, 20 September 2016, what better way to start the day than by ceremonially shovelling his Lower Darwen coal into 76084's firebox.

Steve Davies about to feed 76084 with Lower Darwen coal.

And so a momentous day for 76084 and all involved in her restoration, return to steam and now return to the mainline loaded began. There are numerous videos of the Loaded Test Run around the Carnforth - Blackburn - Carnforth loop on the internet. Click here to view a playlist.

The Class 37 was in the consist for insurance against breakdown. She did not at any stage assist 76084 on either of the test runs except during shunting moves.

The next day 76084 travelled over to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway to take part in their Autumn Steam Gala. She will return to the North Norfolk Railway at the end of March 2017.

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