Steam Railway Magazine
American steam for Telford’s ‘Polar Express’
Steam Railway Magazine featured an article regarding the acquisition of Loco 6046 for Telford Steam Railway’s Polar Express 2016.
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Note Transcripts are automatically generated using OCR and may not be a 100% accurate representation of the article.
THE TELFORD Steam Railway is set to pull off a major coup this Christmas, as it becomes the first preserved line to offer a steam-hauled ‘Polar Express’ – and with an American locomotive.
Subject to final agreement, the line is to hire US Army Transportation Corps ‘S160’ 2-8-0 No. 6046 from Churnet Valley Railway engineer Greg Wilson, to play the part of the locomotive based on preserved Pere Marquette 2-8-4 No. 1225 – that appears in the popular 2004 animated children’s movie.
No. 6046 is currently on loan to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, where it will stay until November before taking up its Telford duties. It will be the first tender locomotive to operate on the TSR in preservation. The only other such visitor being National Collection LNWR ‘Super D. 0-8-0 No. 49395, which was cosmetically restored there for display at Ironbridge.
Until now, the only other lines to run a ‘Polar Express’ in place of the traditional ‘Santa Special’ have been the Seaton Tramway and the British American Railway Services-operated Dartmoor and Weardale Railways – but the latter two could offer only diesel haulage, leading to some complaints from passengers.
With only a Class 108 DMU available in the way of passenger stock, the TSR is shipping in three BR Mk 2 coaches from Tyseley. Actors will be hired to play the film characters on the tram, and the area around the new northern terminus of Lawley Halt will be decorated to resemble the ‘North Pole’ of the movie.
Such is the expected volume of visitors that a park-and-ride operation has been organised, with a coach link from parking facilities away from the railway-and an extra five days had to be added to the initial 14-day schedule.
TSR spokesman Dave Angell said that in order to devote sufficient volunteer resources to the operation, some projects have been put ‘on hold’ – most notably the southern extension to Doseley. Nonetheless. the railway has almost completed the construction of its new station building at Horsehay & Dawley – a replica of Burwarton, on the Cleobury Mortimer & Ditton Priors Light Railway.
“We have had to put some things on the back burner,” he said. “but it will be a game changer for us.”
(Steam Railway Magazine, 2016)