Following our hugely successful visit with 5580 in early 2000 , we were invited back with 31108 , this loco having strong connections with the area , being based locally at March for many years. Also , it is claimed that 31108 ( as 5526 ) was the final movement over the NVR when the line was in BR ownership ? Anyhow 31108 arrived on Monday 17th Sept from the ELR to begin almost 4 years on the railway……
Her first call of duty was at the railway’s Diesel Gala over the weekend Saturday 13th & Sunday 14th October 2001 which had Deltic 55019 visiting. 108’s first run was paired up with ‘ Royal Highland Fusilier ‘ for a round trip to Peterboro & return , creating the days when 31s used to rescue Deltics on the ECML………..albeit not in Railfreight livery though ….! Other workings over the weekend included a run with D9523 and some freight trains. All in all a good event.
31108 on a test run at Peterboro hauling the railway’s Class 117 DMU…15/04/04
31108 arriving at Wansford from Yarwell….. and departing from Orton Mere …..
Arrival at Yarwell where 31108 is being uncoupled ready to run-round…21/09/03
To be fair , not a great deal to report other than we worked 6 rostered turns every year starting in April and running through until September , worked the Diesel Gala each year , covered for non-availibility of other traction ( diesel & steam ) and provided 31108 for driver experience days when required. The only stray away from the norm came on Thursday 17th January when 108 was used for filming an episode of ‘ Murder in Mind ‘ for the BBC…….. Always a pleasure to be at this railway , we really wanted to bring 31271 down to ‘ play ‘ so in early 2005 following requests for 31271 to attend the May 2005 West Somerset Railway Diesel Gala and for 31108 to visit the May 2005 Mid Hants Railway Diesel Gala , an extremely sketchy plan was formulated in co-operation with GB Railfreight and the MHR Gala Organiser .
The ‘ plan’ was to swap over 31108 for 31271 in between the WSR event & the MHR events . This took an incredible amount of planning and despite the odds , it all ‘sort of ‘ went to plan……! This is what happened……on Monday 9th May 31271 , following the WSR Diesel Gala was moved from Bishops Lydeard with 37190 to Old Oak Common courtesy of GB Railfreight with 3 x 73s at the helm …..!31271 then stayed at OC until the Wednesday when 73205 & 73209 hauled 31271 down to Peterboro. Unfortunately , because of various unplanned Network Rail engineering possessions the move was delayed heavily in London and diverted away from the ECML and routed via Tottenham , Cambridge and March. 31108 in the meantime ran LE from Wansford to Orton Mere in order to effect a changeover . It had been planned to swap over the locos at Orton Mere in the afternoon with the 73s , then work 31108 down to Old Oak Common that evening ready to go to Alton the following morning for the MHR Gala………. Well by the time the EDs eventually got to Peterboro they didn’t have sufficient fuel to return to London so 66702 was provided to take 31271 to Orton Mere , and trip 31108 back to Peterboro whilst the EDs had a rest and re-fuel…….However a points failure at Fletton ( the NVR Main Line connection ) resulted in the 66 propelling 31108 back into Peterboro in order to clear the Track Circuits and then have another go …..! What a farce…..!! In the end the EDs and 31108 didn’t depart Peterboro for London until 2140 ( via ECML ) by which time there was a planned possession in the Old Oak area so the convoy terminated short at Wembley. Early next morning , 37401 tripped 31108 over from Wembley to OC to join 37190 and move across the Southern to Alton …….31271 meanwhile went LE to Wansford to commence her spell on the railway…….. As I said earlier, the plan worked ……. ‘ sort of ‘ ! !
Full credit goes to GB Railfreight for getting the job done despite all the ‘spanners’ thrown in by NR , and to NVR staff for sticking it out at Orton Mere……
31108 following arrival at Wansford with a TPO train during ‘Rail Mail’ event…16/02/02
Wansford again with 31108 just arrived from Peterboro on a Sunday Diesel turn…18/08/02
NVR OPERATING DATES FOR 31108
- Diesel Gala – 13/10/01 – 14/10/01.
- Filming Contract..BBC Murder In Mind…Crime Series ‘starring’ Michael Greco.. – 17/01/02.
- Diesel Gala – 16/03/02 – 17/03/02.
- Sunday Diesel Turn – 28/04/02……..2 trips.
- Driver Experience Day – 10/05/02.
- Mini Diesel Gala/Sunday turn – 19/05/02.
- NVR 25th Anniversary – 03/06/02 – 04/06/02.
- RailMail Day..TPO /Passenger Trains etc/Sunday turn – 16/06/02.
- Sunday Diesel Turn – 21/07/02……3 trips.
- Sunday Diesel Turn – 18/08/02……2 trips.
- Saturday/Sunday Diesel Turns – 14/09/02 – 15/09/02…..2 trips.
- Sunday Diesel Turn – 22/09/02…. 2 trips.
- Driver Experience Day – 27/09/02.
- Mini Diesel Gala – 66706 named ‘ Nene Valley’ – 26/04/03.
- Sunday Diesel Turn – 27/04/03……2 trips.
- Driver Experience Day – 09/05/03.
- Sunday Diesel Turn – 18/05/03……2 trips.
- A1A Locos Ltd AGM specials – 31/05/03…..2 trips.
- Sunday Diesel Turn – 15/06/03……2 trips.
- Sunday Diesel Turn – 13/07/03…..2 trips.
- Saturday/Sunday Diesel Turns – 19/07/03 – 20/07/03….2 trips.
- Test Run following Maintainance – 10/08/03……1620 ex Wansford in tandem with D9523.
- Sunday Diesel Turn – 17/08/03……3 trips.
- Sunday Diesel Turn – 21/09/03……2 trips.
- Driver Experience Day – 10/10/03.
- Diesel Gala – 11/10/03 – 12/10/03.
- Test Run following exam – 15/04/04…..drag DMU one round trip.
- Sunday Diesel Turn – 18/04/04…..2 trips.
- Sunday Diesel Turn – 23/05/04…..3 trips…( replaced failed J94 Steam on 1420 dep ).
- RailMail Day..TPO / Passenger Trains etc/Sunday turn – 20/06/04.
- Test Run following exam – 27/06/04….. one round trip.
- A1A Locos Ltd AGM specials – 03/07/04….. 2 trips.
- Sunday Diesel Turn – 18/07/04…..2 trips.
- Vice DMU – 20/08/04……3 trips.
- Sunday Diesel Turn – 22/08/04…..3 trips.
- Corporate Driver Experience for a National Bank. – 16/09/04….. 50 trips LE Wansford – Yarwell……..
- Sunday Diesel Turn – 19/09/04……2 trips.
- Diesel Gala – 09/10/04 – 10/10/04.
- Driver Experience Day – 29/04/05.
- Saturday May Bank Holiday – 30/04/05….. 3 round trips including 56057 as pilot on final trip from Peterboro.