Continuing the saga of West Coast Railway Company (WCRC) and their pride and joy Scots Guardsman, there have been more developments. And, unfortunately, there have been more failures. The good news is that, as with the precautionary cancellation of part of the Cotton Mill Express tour recently, there was nothing that resulted in failure out on the road.
As I mentioned before, the problem on the Cotton Mill Express was the middle cylinder, more specifically the packing of the cylinder gland. This was fixed and, something I found surprising, Network Rail (NR) did not insist on a test run. The locomotive and its empty stock then left Carnforth for Scarborough to work the popular Scarborough Spa Express charters.
And then there was another problem: on Wednesday last, the tour got to Scarborough, and Scots Guardsman was again failed. It was once again fixed, worked the next day’s tour, but was then failed as a precaution because of yet another problem. Now, while I’m impressed by the ability of WCRC to keep up to the problems of the loco, those problems keep coming.
I know that steam operators take great pride in the appearance, performance and reliability of their charges, and am sure that WCRC are as hacked off as the punters at Scots Guardsman’s niggles, but isn’t it time for someone else to have a good look at this loco? I know that WCRC have (less than ideal) previous with the people at Crewe Heritage Centre, so perhaps it could stop by at the National Railway Museum? After all, they restore and look after steam traction too.
Just a thought.