At our committee meeting yesterday evening David Rayner was showing us a photograph that he had been loaned. It showed when appeared to be an LNER 'B1' Class 4-6-0 at Barnard Castle station. The locomotive was at the head of a train headed westwards.
Now all aficionados of the 'Stainmore Line' will know that B1's were far too big and heavy to pull trains over the Stainmore viaducts.The route was limited to engines light enough to classified RA2 but the B1's were much heavier - RA5.
It is an interesting one and I wondered if any regular readers here could offer any information. I think that on the branch to Middleton-in-Teesdale RA5 engines were - in theory anyway - permitted to haul trains and perhaps this was a special 'Bank Holiday' excursion. But what would you do with such a big engine when it reached the buffers at the end of the single line at Middleton? It doesn't seem plausible.
Thinking about the picture driving home afterwards another possible explanation occurred to me. During the early 1950's there was a considerable traffic in military trains at Barnard Castle moving troops to and from Deerbolt Camp. Some 'big beasts' were used for this traffic - sometimes V2's and on at least one occasion an A1 Pacific. The trains pulled into the platform and then the locomotives ran around the train and hauled it back to Darlington tender first. This picture of a B1 could be one such event