Iconic locomotive’s next visit in doubt

SUFFOLK: The next East Anglian trip by iconic steam locomotive Oliver Cromwell is today in doubt after problems were discovered with its firebox.

A routine check after its last trip through the region last month showed that there were some minor stress fractures in the locomotive’s firebox.

It has now been taken to the Great Central Railway in Loughborough where members of its support group, the 5305 Association, are undertaking repairs.

However it is not clear whether these repairs will be completed in time for the “Britannia Class” Pacific to pull “The Easterling” railtour from London through Ipswich to Norwich and Lowestoft on July 17.

A spokeswoman for the Railway Touring Company which is running the railtour said they were monitoring the situation with Oliver Cromwell and if it was unavailable another steam locomotive would be hired instead.

“The tour will definitely run – there is plenty of time for other arrangements to be made,” she said.

Oliver Cromwell is owned by the National Railway Museum but is maintained by the 5305 Association (which owns the LMS steam locomotive number 5305) at its base on the Great Central Railway.

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When the locomotive failed an examination after its St Edmunds tour around East Anglia, there were fears that it could take many months to repair it.

However a statement from the 5305 Association dispelled these fears: “The work on Cromwell is well underway.

“It is too early to give a precise date for her return to traffic, but we aim to have her turned round as quickly as possible. A previous estimate of ‘several weeks’ is still within target.”

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