The Class 50 Alliance has won the Heritage Railway Association Mortons Media Rail Express Modern Traction Award.
The C50A has been chosen by Rail Express magazine in recognition of the 100 main line tours the organisation has supplied locomotives for. Editor Richard Clinnick said: “This award recognises the sheer scale of the achievement of a small number of volunteers who have consistently made Class 50s available for main line duties for more than 20 years. For any preservation group to achieve 100 tours is worth celebrating.”
The award was presented by Richard Clinnick at an HRA awards dinner in Brighton on February 10.
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Pathfinder Tours’ ‘The Pilgrim Centurion’, which ran from Swindon to Edinburgh Waverley on September 16 was the 100th tour. The train was powered by Nos. 50007 Hercules (carrying No. 50034 Furious on one side) and 50049 Defiance.
The first train, Past-Time Rail’s ‘The Pilgrim Hoover’, hauled by No. 50031 Hood between Birmingham International and Penzance, ran on November 1, 1997.
Since then, the Fifty Fund (which supports shareholders through various fundraising activities to keep the locomotives operational) and the C50A have supplied four locomotives for main line duties, with No. 50044 Exeter also having operated on the main line. Also, in the C50A fleet but never having operated on the national network in their preservation career are Nos. 50033 Glorious and 50035 Ark Royal.
Already more tours have been organised and run, with Nos. 50007/049 hauling the 101st tour on December 9 last year from London Euston to Manchester Piccadilly and a mini-tour to Preston, while PT has announced that ‘50s’ will haul ‘The Mazey Day Cornishman’ from Dorridge to Penzance on June 29 (see Railtours). Other tours are in the planning stages and will be announced in due course.
In a recent Rail Express interview (RE331), C50A chairman Tony Middleton explained: “When we go out on the main line with a charter there are technical riders and we must always obey the various industry rules too, so for the Edinburgh trip on September 16, there were eight technical riders.” They may be C50A volunteers based at Kidderminster, but they all have Personal Track Safety (PTS) certificates enabling them to be on the railway and on the locomotives when they are hauling trains.
“These guys are predominantly on the tours; back at Kidderminster there is a core of 20 people, and they are the backbone of what we do.”