BR Standard Class 7 70013 Oliver Cromwell
70013 Oliver Cromwell is a British Railways standard class 7 (also known as the Britannia class) preserved steam locomotive. The locomotive is notable as one of the four steam locomotives which worked the last steam railtour on British Railways (BR) in 1968 before the introduction of a steam ban.
One of 55 of the "Britannia" class, Oliver Cromwell was built at Crewe Works, being completed on 30 May 1951. 70013 was initially allocated to Norwich depot (BR shed code 32A) on the Eastern Region of British Railways and employed on London to Norwich expresses. Some of the Norwich diagrams (the day's operating schedule for a locomotive) required two return trips a day to London totalling 460 miles. The introduction of the Britannia Pacifics revolutionised express services in East Anglia.
From 1958, diesel-electric locomotives began to replace steam locomotives. 70013 remained at Norwich until w/e 16 September 1961 when transferred to March Motive Power Depot (shed code 31B), having covered 698,000 miles in just over ten years, an excellent figure. Norwich Depot, under the shedmaster Bill Harvey, was renowned for the fine mechanical condition of its locomotives. In December 1963, 70013 was transferred to the London Midland Region at Carlisle Kingmoor Depot (shed code 12A) for freight, parcels and occasional passenger work – most regular express services were by now diesel-hauled. The north-west of England became the steam locomotive's last area of operation on BR. On 3 October 1966? 70013 entered Crewe Works and became the last BR-owned steam locomotive to undergo routine heavy overhaul, being out-shopped after a special ceremony in February 1967. 70013 was selected to operate the last steam passenger train prior to the abolition of steam traction on British Railways lines, and in the summer of 1968 Oliver Cromwell hauled several specials, culminating in the Fifteen Guinea Special which ran between Liverpool and Carlisle on 11 August that year and which 70013 hauled on the Manchester to Carlisle leg of the trip.
Oliver Cromwell became part of the National Railway Museum's National Collection immediately after the end of the Fifteen Guinea Special (70000 Britannia, later preserved privately, had previously been earmarked for this move). Despite a steam ban after 11 August 1968, 70013 moved under its own steam on 12 August to its old shed at Norwich and then, on 13 August, to Diss whence she was transported by road to Bressingham Steam & Gardens. At Bressingham, 70013 was in service to provide footplate rides until the 1980s, before retiring into the museum exhibition.
In 2004, it was announced that Oliver Cromwell would be restored to main-line standard in preparation for the 40th anniversary of the end of steam, with significant financial assistance from the readers of Steam Railway magazine. The locomotive was overhauled at the Great Central Railway (GCR) to mainline standards which included the fitting of the train protection warning system, overhaul of 70013's automatic warning system and the fitment of OTMR. On the weekend of 3 May – 4 May 2008, the locomotive hauled its first revenue-earning passenger services since being restored on the GCR's eight-mile route. The locomotive made an appearance at the National Railway Museum's 1968 and All That event celebrating 40 years since the end of steam.
Its first mainline passenger charter since 1968 was on 10 August 2008 when the locomotive took part in a re-run of the Fifteen Guinea Special. It then went on to operate on the Scarborough Spa Express later in the month.
On 9 September 2008, Oliver Cromwell completed a re-run of "The Norfolkman" running from Liverpool Street station to Norwich railway station and return, visiting the site of its former home of Norwich shed (32A). 70013 carried a 32A shed plate on the smokebox to complete the image.
On 8 November 2008, the locomotive was temporarily re-numbered as 70048 and renamed "The Territorial Army 1908 - 2008" to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Territorial Army. The naming was performed by HRH The Duke of Gloucester at Quorn and Woodhouse station on the preserved Great Central Railway. 70048 was a sister member of the BR Standard Class 7 Britannia class and was named "The Territorial Army 1908 - 1958". During the 2008 renaming, 70013 carried this name on the right-hand-side smoke deflector as a reminder of the original name and as a link with the past association with the Territorial Army.
On 14 March 2009 Oliver Cromwell hauled a special on what was said to be the very last train (of any sort) to use the branch line down to Folkestone Harbour, where main line trains used to meet with cross channel ferries.
On 23 May 2009, the locomotive hauled a railtour from Norwich to Poole in Dorset, and then travelled to the Swanage Railway under its own power, via Wareham and the re-instated link between the main-line and the Swanage Railway at Motala.
On 11 March 2010, Oliver Cromwell hauled the opening railtour over the newly re-instated level crossing at Sheringham on the North Norfolk Railway, arriving from King's Cross, via Cambridge and Norwich.
On 3 May 2010, Oliver Cromwell was used for a private charter by Girlguiding UK, as part of the celebration of 100 years of Guiding. Brownies Take Over the Tracks ran between London Victoria and Windsor & Eton Riverside.
On Saturday 15 May 2010, two years after its previous overhaul, Oliver Cromwell suffered from cracks in the firebox and was moved to the GCR for an inspection which lead to the locomotive being withdrawn from service.
During 2010, 70013 Oliver Cromwell underwent firebox repairs at Crewe Heritage Centre. The cab was removed before the rest of the locomotive was sent for repairs to the boiler. Following these repairs, on 17 December 2010 the locomotive had a successful steam test at Crewe. On 8 March 2011 she was taken to Southall, and on 12 March 2011 hauled "The Lincoln Imp" from London Victoria to Lincoln, returning to Kings Cross.
On 27 May 2012 the locomotive was involved in a blowback incident near Wood Green in North London on a Railway Touring Company railtour called 'The Peak Forester'. Two of the three crew on board the locomotive had to attend hospital as a result. An R.A.I.B. investigation was conducted after the accident.
On 11 August 2013 she worked the Fifteen Guinea Special to celebrate the 45th Anniversary of the ending of steam on British Railways. 70013 was in charge of the Longsight to Carlisle leg of the special with the other legs being worked by LMS Black 5s numbers 45305, 45231 & 44932.
On 7 June 2014 Oliver Cromwell attended Seaford in Sussex to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the opening of the railway branch between Newhaven and Seaford.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to BR Standard Class 7 70013 Oliver Cromwell.|