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Sherwood Forester passing Nethertown

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Steam Locomotive, Sherwood Forester passed along the West Cumbria coast on 29th August. 5231, as she is also known, was built by Armstrong-Whitworth in 1936 for the London, Midland & Scottish Railway.

Sherwood Forester was a member of the London Midland & Scottish Railway, Black 5 Class. A shining example of Britain's workhorse railways from the 1930s all the way to the end of steam.

The engine spent most of its early career at Patricroft shed, working mainly to North Wales and Leeds. After nationalisation in 1948, it was renumbered 45231 by British Railways.

45231 was transferred to Northampton in October 1954, but was only officially there for a month — such allocation changes were often only carried out on paper — and then transferred to Aston, where it remained for nine years. 45231 was officially transferred to Rugby in February 1963, but was moved a short time later (July) to Chester. It stayed at Chester until closure of Chester shed in April 1967 when 45231 was then transferred to Speke Junction and finally Carnforth, where 45231 lasted until the last day of steam on BR in August 1968.

It was sold by BR directly into preservation and was restored at Carnforth to LMS livery.

After being initially preserved at Carnforth, 5231 became associated with the preserved Great Central Railway (GCR) in Leicestershire. In 1973, it hauled the official opening train between Loughborough and Quorn. Never having carried a name in BR service, the locomotive was nonetheless named 3rd (Volunteer) Battalion The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment at Quorn on 9 May 1976. It was taken out of service the following year for an overhaul.

5231 was overhauled in Cornwall, and was complete in 1988, when it returned to the GCR. It was then moved to the Nene Valley Railway from 1989 until 1993, when it returned to the GCR for the filming of Shadowlands. 5231 was sold to the GCR in late 1996, who repainted it in BR lined black in 1997. It also acquired a new set of nameplates, this time more simply The Sherwood Forester.

45231 emerged from an overhaul in 2005 and shortly after it was moved by road to the Mid Hants Railway. It eventually undertook a proving run on Sun 26 Jun from Alton to Fratton before entering mainline service later in the year. 45231 returned to traffic in 2013 after another major overhaul was carried out at Carnforth MPD.

The locomotive was, until May 2015, owned by Bert Hitchen and after his death, the locomotive was taken into the care of the Hitchen family who looked after the engine until November 2015, when Jeremy Hosking purchased the locomotive from the Hitchen family. 45231 is currently based at Crewe Diesel TMD alongside a number of other mainline certified locomotives to help with charter trains. Its current mainline certificate expires in 2020 with the boiler certificate running out in 2023.

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Cleator Moor | Cumbria: Little Ireland: Sherwood Forester passing Nethertown
Sherwood Forester passing Nethertown
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Cleator Moor | Cumbria: Little Ireland
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