The last and the first
Another page on this site records the passage of the last steam locomotive over the Ferry Road bridge before the bridge was replaced at the end of 2012. Having recorded this event it was only right that the passage of the first steam loco to cross the new bridge should also be captured on video and added to the site.
The first attempt
On 16th March 2013 I took up position at Benfleet station, camera at the ready, to await the arrival of the Cathedrals Express, headed by Bittern, which was due to pass through the station en route from Southend to Bristol. The Cathedrals Express came through on time but unfortunately it was hauled by a diesel loco. I found out later that Bittern had been switched to Tornado (for reasons unknown to me) but Tornado then failed her fitness to run exam the previous night.
Success in my quest eventually came much later in the year, on the 14th December 2013, in the shape of the Cathedrals Express headed by two Black Five steam locos, 44871 and 45407 (The Lancashire Fusilier). The result can be seen on the video below.
The ‘Anorak’ bit
The following has been reproduced from the Steam Dreams website
The first class 5 locomotive was built for the London, Midland & Scottish Railway in 1934 to the design of Sir William Stanier. The new locomotives when built left the railway works in the standard mixed traffic black livery which soon earned them the nickname “Black Fives” for which they are still affectionately referred to today. The locomotives were capable of handling both express passenger and freight trains and were known as ‘do-anything and go-anywhere’ locomotives, spread far and wide across the UK railway system. By the time the last Black Five was built in 1951, the class numbered 842 locomotives; one of the most numerous classes of British steam locomotives ever built.
Today, 18 Black Fives survived into preservation with several examples still working on the mainline railway today.