Northampton & Lamport Railway – 1st January 2013
In true tradition the Northampton & Lamport Railway ran their annual mince pie specials on New Years Day again; this being at least the 4th year in a row that 31289 had been the first 31 to work in the New Year.
I’d not actually managed to make it the NLR at all during 2012 and since my last visit 31289 had been bought from Nemesis Rail and it was evident that work had been going on inside the engine room since its purchase, evident by the fact that even the windows into it were cleaner!
The engine room floor was almost clean, as opposed to swimming in oil. All the head covers and other bits attached to the power unit by bolt had either been cleaned or replaced and new bolts fitted. The generator housing was pristine and freshly painted and there’d even been a small bit of bodywork repairs done. The white stripe that had been pained on for the 2011 anniversary do had been painted over and the whole loco had actually been painted. This time the blue used was about as close as you can get to BR Blue and the yellow ends were the same colour all over as opposed to patch painted.
Two things that were very evident though; the lack of “Phoenix” nameplates and also the new numbers that the loco possessed on its cab sides. The old rubbed down ones being all but non-existent now, unless you looked very closely.
Being one of the most unlikely survivors of the EWS cull 31289 is now receiving some much needed attention and will hopefully return to its former glory some day soon.