With Christmas on the doorstep, I was off to the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway for their last day of Santa Specials. In service was newly restored Standard 2MT No. 78022 (at the head of the Santas), Class 20 No. 20031 (on the rear) and DMUs Nos. M51189 and SC51803 (on the service train).
Standard 2MT No. 78022
The loco was built by BR at Darlington Works in 1954 and was transferred to Millerhouses Depot in Sheffield until the shed closed in 1962. It then took a whistle-stop tour around sheds such as Doncaster, Stratford (London), March (Cambridgeshire), Barrow, Aintree and finally Lostock Hall.
The loco was then withdrawn from this shed in 1967. It was sold to Woodham Bros. as scrap and it remained there until been rescued by the Standard 4 Locomotive Society in 1975.
The engine arrived at the KWVR on June 11th 1975 however did not run until 1993. The loco has since grown popular with footplate crews and has recently returned from a major overhaul. The loco has been out-shopped in a stunning Brunswick Green!
Perfect photographic conditions were had for the whole day. The sun was shining and the weather was cold, allowing for some spectacular displays of exhaust and power from the Standard.
Starting out at Haworth Loop for the 1005 ex Keighley train, with a temperature of 0°C, 78022 looked amazing with her train in tow. The sun was perfectly sat in the sky and the frost just added to the beauty!
After an amazing shot at the loop, it was off to Oxenhope for the 1115 train, where a typical 1960s branch line scene could be made using a cottage by the lineside. Once again, the loco put on a show with beautiful exhaust laying over the train. The trains were still on time and the passengers seemed happy!
A quick car drive down the line saw us arrive at Oakworth. A short walk to our next spot and we waited in the cold for the 1230 off Keighley to arrive. Thankfully, it came on time and passed the DMU in the passing loop then opened up, the exhaust beats bouncing off the valley walls and the Brunswick Green loco shining beautifully with the mid afternoon Santa Special.
The last shot of the day and the scene was set at the Oxenhope end of the Damems Loop. This time with a 1 hour and 15 minute wait ahead of us. Although we were cold, we waited and were rewarded as the 1400 Santa passed non stop through the loop and caught the last of the day’s sunlight (photo from here can be seen at the top of the article). A wonderful way to end a wonderful day!
Although there was still one run left, it was time to head off home. Santa is once again out of the way for the season and looking forward to more winter steam between Christmas and the New Year!
Overall, the Standard put on a sterling performance for the whole day with the diesel rarely offering assistance. A great way to spend Christmas Eve! All the staff at the KWVR should be extremely proud of the 2018 Santas, with the locos been turned out immaculately and the Christmassy vibe around the stations.
Merry Christmas everyone!
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