Hopes that Charity Railtours’ “The Magnificent Severn” rail tour would soon be running from London to South Wales behind Class 52 D1015 Western Champion have been put on hold.
“The Magnificent Severn” rail tour was to benefit Cruse Bereavement Care, but sadly, whilst hauling a loaded freight train on a mainline test run last year, the loco failed.
D1015 is one of seven preserved Westerns from the original 74 built by BR at Swindon and Crewe. It gained mainline certification in 2002 and has since travelled all over the UK network, hauling rail tours as far as Penzance in the South and Kyle of Lochalsh in the North.
A great deal of work is required to return D1015 to full working order. It requires a replacement power unit, which has been sourced but requires conversion, shipping, and fitting. At the moment, the company has no estimate for when the work will be complete.
Once all repairs are complete and the loco passed fit for rail tour duty once more, “The Magnificent Severn” will travel from London to South Wales to the northern extremity of the line to Machen. Another loco will then haul the train back to Park Junction, Ebbw Junction, and Pengam where Western Champion will take over once more, travelling via Newport, Severn Tunnel Junction, and Chepstow, to Lydney.
Another loco will haul the train onto the Dean Forest Railway for a trip over their line to Parkend, before Western Champion heads the train back to the DFR’s headquarters at Norchard for lunch and refuelling.
Later, D1015 will return to the main line at Lydney for a sprint alongside the River Severn, through Gloucester, then south to Berkeley Road Junction and onto the freight-only line to Sharpness.
Here, Western Champion will be on the rear of the train as another loco will haul it back to Gloucester, where D1015 takes over again the final leg of the journey through Stroud and the Golden Valley to Swindon and on to London.