The Royal Scot Locomotive & General Trust (RSLGT) and the Sir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Trust (SNGLT) has announced that they have agreed a partnership for the operation of steam locomotive 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley.
The deal will see 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley based at our Crewe Depot for mainline tours as well as operating on a number of heritage railways including the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, where it is intended to retain strong links.
The locomotive will be operated primarily by Locomotive Services (TOC) Ltd and will haul Saphos Trains’ rail tours along with the existing fleet of locomotives, however, operations with other operators are not excluded.
The agreement is seen as a way of securing the mainline future of 60007 through its next ten-year operating period and beyond by guaranteeing a level of income that is expected to fund 50% of its next overhaul.
The remaining 50% will come from SNGLT’s membership, fund-raising and sales activities, along with income from heritage railway visits.
The agreement is expected to lead to wider talks between the two organisations, which the Sir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Trust sees as a means of maintaining its current team at a new base, which is now under investigation and will allow the trust to grow its apprenticeship and training opportunities.
What did the officials say?
Nigel Wilson, Chairman of The Sir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Trust, which owns 60007, said:
During the last ten-year boiler ticket, it became clear that we needed a different arrangement for the mainline operation for 60007. Our situation as a single locomotive-owning organisation presented significant difficulties in achieving suitable rail tour programmes. The result was that some years we didn’t do any rail tours at all, which was unacceptable for a locomotive like Sir Nigel Gresley. It is in our constitution that we must seek to maintain the 60007 on the main line for as long as that is possible, so during the present overhaul we have been investigating ways to address the problems identified. In essence that meant a partnership with another organisation. I am pleased that productive discussions with RSLGT have resulted in what I believe is a very good agreement for both organisations, allowing a balance of mainline operation and heritage running. I know many members will be pleased to see a strong commitment to a mainline future, and for those who may have some concerns about seeing No.7 on the NYMR, it is still our intention that the locomotive will continue to visit North Yorkshire on a regular basis. I am also pleased that we have built SNGLT Members’ Days into the agreement; we will seek to arrange a varied programme of events for members over the next nine to ten years of operation. I see this as a key agreement for the future of our locomotive, underpinning the future finances and allowing us to develop engineering skills in a new generation. Sustainability is the key.
Deputy Chairman John Wilkinson added:
From the very early stages of the discussions it was clear that SNGLT and RSLGT shared a common ethos in terms of operating steam locomotives. Good operating practices such as not overloading the locomotive or demanding unrealistically long days for the operating crew as well as requiring the highest maintenance standards are all areas of common ground. SNGLT support crew look forward to working with RSLGT and LSTOC.
Jeremy Hosking, Trustee of the Royal Scot Locomotive and General Trust and Chairman of Locomotive Services (TOC) Limited, said:
We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to work with the SNGLT, who clearly share our passion for the protection and careful use of Iconic Steam Locomotives. Sir Nigel Gresley is a Locomotive steeped in history, supported and managed by a dedicated, enthusiastic team, whose outlook and culture aligns perfectly with our own. We see this agreement as the start of an exciting and enduring partnership between our organisations, that will see 60007 return to regular main line use alongside visits to heritage railways. Once complete, Sir Nigel Gresley will be welcomed into our industry leading facilities at Crewe, where we will work with your engineering teams and support crews to ensure the locomotive is given the best possible care and attention, alongside our home fleet including Royal Scot, Britannia, Blue Peter and of course number sevens’ sister locomotive, Bittern.