Great Central Railway (Nottingham) – 30th March 2013
A1A Locomotives’ 31162 had the honour of being the first diesel to work at the Great Central Railway Nottingham (GCR(N)) during the 2013 season. Due to the ongoing cold spell that had gripped the country ‘162s start-up the day before was nothing less than spectacular, by all accounts. As with anything/anyone if you’ve been hibernating for the Winter you’d be reluctant to burst into life too…….
The good news was that 31162 took power once her engine had settled down; the bad news was that the exhausters didn’t work so it couldn’t create vacuum. Thankfully that wasn’t an issue as the train was T&T with Robert Stephenson & Hawthorns steam loco #56 (Works No. 7667 of 1950).
The stock, load 3 mark 1’s was already pre-heated on Saturday morning, all the windows being steamed up giving quite an atmospheric effect. 31162 led out of Ruddington with #56 on the “blocks” end of the stock.
The day went ok and there were plenty of folk about, especially on the first and second trips. However the day wasn’t without event and #56 had to be replaced after the second trip as the coal being used wasn’t of a great standard and it was blocking the ashtray up. As a result the 1349 from Loughborough had to sit and wait at Rushcliffe Halt for #56 to build up steam before we could proceed; and was replaced at Ruddington by 25279 for the last run of the day, which was slightly colder than the rest due to the lack of heat.
Problems aside 31162 performed faultlessly and sounded as good as ever; her exhauster problems will be rectified very shortly.