61264. A B1. At one time something quite ordinary. Not any more.
The return to traffic of the Thompson B1 locomotive No. 61264 marked a return of a design much derided by some for its assosiation to its designer. In fact a lot of the history is known to many enthusiasts of the Gresley vs Thompson debate and a lot of it is inaccurately recycled. Today the evidence spoke for itself. 61264 was looking splendid and running like a metronome, the two cylinder's marking the gorgeous rhythmn of a steam engine as it echoed along the esk valley, under Larpool viaduct and past Slieghts. The sure footed departure from Goathland also a testiment to driving as much as the engines ability to grip and pull.
61264 has become something special. Its escape from Barry making it one and unique in the only Eastern region engine to share the same fortune as the vast examples of Western and Southern engines that enjoyed the same fate. Now, its an ambassador for a designer that perhaps should be given greater credit, and with the NER style smokebox still in place, it shows a pedigree of the Northern end of the LNER system that marked out standardisation and reliability over tinkering and complexity. Get the job done and simply do it right.
How nice to see an engine that embodies that return - rather than the hype and legacy afforded to some. Simply put.... Welcome back.