East Lancashire Railway’s upcoming steam gala will be extra special – thanks to legendary locomotives with royal connections.

The ‘Legends of Steam’ event will welcome two locomotive icons, BR Standard, Class 7, 70000 ‘Britannia’ and LNER, A4, 60007 ‘Sir Nigel Gresley’ to the tracks.

These special locomotives have helped transport the Queen and the then Prince Charles and will be the stars of the show at the event in March, next year.

The Britannia – completed in 1951 – was the first UK standard locomotive to be built and spent 15 years serving the national network. This Locomotive is Owned by Royal Scot Locomotive & General Trust and regularly operates charter trains on the national network run by Locomotive Services Limited based in Crewe.

In 2011 she returned to the mainline after a 14-year absence and hauled the Royal Train with the then Prince Charles onboard from Preston to Wakefield in 2012.

ELR will also host LNER, A4, 60007 ‘Sir Nigel Gresley’, which was built in 1937 and worked for 29 years before being purchased by the Sir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Trust Ltd to rescue the locomotive from the cutter’s torch. The Locomotive recently returned to service in 2022 following an extensive overhaul. This locomotive also operates regular mainline charter trains operated by Locomotive Services.

In 1956 she had the honour of hauling the Royal Train from King’s Cross to York while the Queen was onboard.

Sir Nigel Gresley is the only A4 class locomotive to be owned by a charitable trust, and it can be seen regularly running on mainline and heritage railways up and down the UK.

These two iconic locomotives will also be supported by LMS Jubilee Locomotive 45690 ‘Leander’ for the three days of this event.

Mike Kelly, Chairman of the East Lancashire Railway, said: “Over the years we have welcomed a great many iconic locomotives to the ELR and we are very proud and excited to make these locomotives available to the many thousands of enthusiasts to see, hear and ride behind them.

“These exciting additions to the ELR’s ‘Legends of Steam’ event promises to make the celebration even more special.

“I’d like to thank the Sir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Trust Ltd, Royal Scot Locomotive & General Trust, Locomotive Services and the Jubilee Locomotive Co for allowing these icons to operate on our railway.”

It will take place from March 15-17, next year, with more information available on the ELR website.

Weekend tickets are available, alongside individual day tickets, which are all available to buy here.

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About East Lancs Railway
ELR opened as a heritage railway in 1987, and hosts around 200,000 visitors annually, as one of the leading visitor attractions in the North West. Operating steam trains from Bolton Street Station in Bury, along a 12.5-mile line between Heywood, in Greater Manchester, and Rawtenstall in Lancashire, the railway was recently recognised with a TripAdvisor Travellers Choice Award for 2023.

Sir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Trust
The Sir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Trust was formed in 1964 and purchased 60007 from British Railways in 1966, returning it to mainline operation the following year after a full overhaul at BR Crewe works. Under the Trust’s ownership the locomotive has remained active on the mainline and heritage railways across the UK ever since. To achieve this the SNGLT engineering team has undertaken six major overhauls, the latest being completed in 2022, having taken 7-years and costing £1 million. The organisation became a registered charity in 1998. Today the Trust has a vibrant and growing membership. For further details visit www.sirnigelgresley.org.uk

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