In the fifty years that the Stanier Mogul Fund has been involved with its engine there have been many milestone dates. Which, though, was the most significant? Was it that Saturday in (probably) April 1970 when four people went to Barry ‘just to take photographs’ and founded the Stanier Mogul Fund that same evening? Or 1st September 1973 when the Fund became her owners? Was it two months later on 13th December, when she started the journey ‘dead on own wheels’ from Barry to Bewdley and the SVR? Perhaps it was 13th April 1991 when she worked her first passenger train in preservation, the SMF ‘Return to Steam Special’? It might have been 31st August 1996 and her return to the main line on a proving run to Gloucester and back; or 7th December the same year with her first mainline special from Dorridge to Lincoln, the Lyndum Fayre? I could go on, and perhaps we all have our own point of view.
To your Archivist, 12th November 1990 must come top of the list. That was the day when 2968 moved for the first time under her own steam in almost twenty-four years (last sighting in steam at Preston, 14th December 1966, with the 6/38 parcels ex-Liverpool Lime St Station). In between there had been twenty years, including Barry working parties, of sheer, hard slog both in fund raising and physical work on the engine and tender. But on that November day, it all became worthwhile.
I was able to arrange at short notice a day’s leave from work and hurried down to Bridgnorth in time to see history being made. The engine had long been lit up and stood in the yard with steam blowing from the cylinder taps, Fund Engineering Officer Colin Williams and SVR Works Manager Graham Nangreave on the footplate. I headed for the footbridge with its panoramic view of the yard for the start of a series of photographs recording the momentous day, including the photos reproduced in the gallery below.
Jim Norman – SMF Archivist