This week is all about the unique BR Standard Class 8, number 71000 “Duke of Gloucester”

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The Duke of Gloucester was built at Crewe in 1954 and came about as a replacement for LMS engine 46202 “Princess Anne”.  That locomotive had been damaged beyond repair in the terrible multiple engine crash at Harrow & Wealdstone station in 1952  when 112 people were killed and 340 injured. Robert Riddles was appointed to take charge of the Mechanical and Engineering division of BR by the newly formed Railway executive when the railways were nationalised in 1948. He wanted to introduce an entire stud of Class 8 locomotives based on the successful Britannia’s but had been held back by the Executive as plans were starting to be formulated for the Modernisation to diesel and electric power. However he got the go ahead for this one engine as a possible prototype. Unfortunately it had two serious design and build faults where the incorrect type of blast pipe and chimney were fitted and the firebox airways were too small. This resulted in very poor performance and was highly unpopular with the loco crews so no further ones were ordered.  It only lasted 8 years in BR service before being withdrawn. Luckily the Duke was rescued from Barry scrapyard and during a 13 year preservation rebuild these and other faults were corrected and when it came back to main line use it’s true potential was seen as it is now one of the most powerful engines in Britain.

The Duke has been sidelined in more recent times since failing on a main line duty in 2012 but is now going through a complete overhaul at the Tyseley locomotive works and should be back in business by late 2018 or a little earlier if more funding can be found by the Trust that owns it.

It is seen here having passed the site of Exminster station which was situated just beyond the road bridge in the background. The station was closed in the 1960’s

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Earlier in the day which was on the 28th May 2007, it could be seen rounding the curve near the Langstone rock at Dawlish Warren on it’s way to Plymouth.

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The next year on 4th May 2008 The Duke was paired with one of the Royal livery 67’s for another “Devonian Duke” here approaching the Rockstone bridge on the sea wall.

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A miserable grey day greeted the Duke as it passed through Dawlish Warren station on 21st June 2008 with the Cornishman Excursion from Bristol to Penzance.

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Unfortunately on this trip it had failed at Newton Abbot and a diesel had to fulfil the rest of the trip. 71000 is seen here travelling along the banks of the River Teign, creeping home in disgrace the next day

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On 5th August 2012 The Duke is passing Cockwood harbour with the returning leg of the Torbay Express.

 

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Cockwood harbour always seems to be at low tide when you want to photograph trains and not the prettiest of sights with the mud and boats covered in tarpaulin covers.

Fortunately “Photoshop” comes to the rescue at times like these. Spot the difference in this next picture from the same frame.

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Finally before ending with this week’s video compilation here is another shot of the earlier one at Exminster where it includes a long gone “Wessex Railways” railcar in the picture.

It is in fact the same picture that hasn’t been cropped to give a totally different perspective.

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Plenty of whistles and fast running to be seen and heard here.

Apologies for the abrupt end to the video…….The camcorder ran out of space on the recording card at a VERY inopportune time!