A special passenger service from London, “The Palatine”, pulled in at around 1.30 pm this afternoon having left London Euston at around 8 am. Hauled by an A4 class locomotive 60019 Bittern, capable of speeds of up to 100 mph, it travelled along the West Coast Main line, passing through Watford Junction, Northampton, Crewe and Stockport before arriving on time at Platform 8.
This unique service was met with excitement by scores of railway enthusiasts and passers-by, who were surprised and delighted to see this 1930s designed train alongside a modern Pendolino, themselves introduced in the 2000s.
The locomotive, Bittern is of the same class as the famous Mallard, designed by Sir Nigel Gresley and which still holds the official world speed record for a steam locomotive. It was specially fitted with a double tender so as to make today’s 5.5 hour journey without stopping for additional water.
The train was available for viewing at the platform until 2 pm when it was returned to the depot. This evening’s return journey will be hauled by diesel traction.
Today sees two steam locomotive events in the Manchester area. Earlier, a special train in aid of the Help for Heroes charity passed through Manchester Victoria station on the way from Lancaster to York. It will pass through again on its return at approximately 7.30 pm