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Heritage News

The blue King emerges

6023 in the snow on the Great Central Railway last week

6023 King Edward II has certainly had his problems.  Perhaps being named after one of our more, er, disappointing historical monarchs has caused the engine some bad karma and the story of his restoration to working order has definitely been a case of overcoming some desperately difficult and, at times apparently insurmountable obstacles. Even when steam was finally raised, there followed all the rows and accusations of sabotage that ensued with the discover of serious firebox problems.  This view of 6023 shows him alive and well at the GCR under test.

The historical parallels are fun to review.  KE2 was always eclipsed by his militaristic father, he had little success in battle, being defeated by the Scots at the Battle of Bannockburn and was imprisoned for many years before meeting his death in, rumour relates, distinctly unpleasant and horrific circumstances.  On the positive side he was noted for his establishment of  colleges at Oxford and Cambridge and was by all accounts rather peace loving in his manner.

So what are a few firebox problems compared with that? Our King has also had a very difficult history but with a little more luck mixed in at crucial moments.  A recent copy of the Great Western Society’s ‘Great Western Echo magazine relates a fireman’s experience with 6023 from Paddington to Plymouth in BR days and the engine clearly ran well in those days and there are many photos around to support this.  The problems only started in latter years but instead of a horrible death, KE2 survived and despite the years in the wilderness, has finally re-emerged to delight us all, hopefully for some years to come.

We will all, hopefully soon see what difference a single chimney makes. Almost none of us can remember a King with one and 6023 is much more what a King was  built to look and sound like than either 6024 or 6000.  The blue livery is fabulous and perhaps we shall also see the engine in as-built GWR livery too.

The mainline beckons.  Long live the King!

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One Response to “The blue King emerges”

  1. Hi there,

    I’m glad you like my image but it is clearly watermarked in the original version and the copyright is marked as mine so lpease have the courtesy to ask if you wish to use an image of mine. Can you please restore the image to include the watermark and give us a name credit.
    Thank you,
    Langtree photography

    Posted by Duncan Langtree | January 30, 2013, 8:54 pm

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