05/08/2000 – 06/08/2000 Old Oak Common Open Weekend

We received a phone call early in 2000 requesting the availibility of 31108 which was still under overhaul at the time, OR that of 5580. Discussions were therefore held with the organiser of the event which resulted in a request that both attend ! 31108 was coming on nicely ( visit – 31108 Preservation Story 1991 – 2000) so we didn’t forsee any problems with that one and 5580’s visit to the Nene Valley Railway would be drawing to a close in Mid July so again , all was well…..! What an honour for both of our locos to attend this massive event , which would be the first time 31108 & 5580 would be together since the completion of the overhaul of the former….

5580 was given a thorough clean at the NVR before departure in mid July to OC , and became one of the first guest locos to arrive at the West London depot.. 31108’s overhaul had thankfully been completed on time and she had made her operating debut at Butterley followed by tyre-turning at Toton , and at the time of 5580’s arrival at OC ,was at KWVR starring in their Diesel Gala….. Once released from Keighley , 108 made the journey south arriving a few days before the event.

31108 & 37906 attract the crowds at Old Oak Common ..05/08/00 photo J Crane

The ‘ A1A Team ‘ ! , arrived at OC a couple of hours before opening on the Saturday morning to get ‘ checked in ‘ and to get our sales stand erected and organised. As we drove into the depot complex , one of the first locos to be viewed was indeed 5580 in a prime location outside the fuelling shed.She looked well at home …! 31108 had been carefully positioned outside ‘ The Factory ‘ close to 31110 and adjacent to newly repainted 37906 in the same Railfreight Grey livery as 108.. Many other exhibits were parked around them but 108 and the ‘ Slug ‘ complemented each other superbly and were both immaculate….!

5580 nicely positioned on No 1 Road outside the Fuelling Point..05/08/00.

31108 poses outside ‘ The Factory ‘ with one of 31309’s / 31102’s nameplates ‘Cricklewood’…06/08/00.

56004, 31108, 55022 & 37906 await the crowds on the morning of 06/08/00.

The weather was superb and the amount of people attending had to be seen to be believed , especially on the Saturday. Both our locos attracted much attention , but 108 got the most…..! On the Sunday morning 5580 was started up and moved onto the ‘ famous’ turntable and positioned next to the Hydraulics on display to re-create scenes of the early 1970s.We even wound up 0F70 on the headcode which is OC’s destination reporting number……..

Our sales stand positioned inside ‘ The Factory ‘ did a roaring trade on both days and it was superb to see many ‘ old faces ‘ over the weekend. This was an incredibly well organised event and without a doubt was the ( and still is ! ) the best ‘Open Day event’ we have ever attended. We were very proud to be involved……..

Later on the Sunday evening following closing of the event 5580 was started and became ‘ OC pilot ‘ helping assemble the various convoys of locos ready for despatch. 5580 departed late that evening in a convoy comprising 83012 & 58050 being headed by 58021 with arrival at Swanwick early the following day…. 31108 stayed put at OC waiting for movement to the Severn Valley Railway………shes a busy loco this ‘ un’ !