45231 was one of the 227 Armstrong Whitworth built locomotives built in 1936. It was originally numbered 5231 and was renumbered 45231 by BR following nationalisation in 1948.
BR motive power depot allocations since 1948.
|May 1967||Speke Junction|
It was withdrawn from service at Carnforth in August 1968 along with the remaining steam engines still on the BR network. It did have the distinction of working the last ever steam hauled ballast train for BR on the Furness Line in Cumbria.
45231 was purchased by Michael Stephenson for preservation at Carnforth motif power depot which became Steamtown museum.
In 1973, 45231 moved to the Great Central Railway (GCR) at Loughborough and hauled the official opening train on this new preservation railway to Quorn on September 30th 1973.
In 1976 45231 was given the name; 3rd (Volunteer) Battalion The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment.
The following year the locomotive was withdrawn for a full overhaul. This overhaul was completed in 1988 and in 1989 45231 moved to the Nene Valley Railway. In 1993 45231 again returned to the GCR for the filming of Richard Attenborough’s Shadowlands.
45231 was purchased by the GCR in 1996 and the following year received a new set of nameplates carrying the simplified name The Sherwood Forester.
In 2001 The Sherwood Forester was purchased by Bert Hitchen with the intention of restoring the locomotive the mainline standard. This work was undertaken at Loughborough Works on the GCR.
After this work 45231 moved to the Mid-Hants Railway in February 2005 to run some mainline tours for Steam Dreams. Following a mainline test run from Alton to Fratton, the first mainline appearance for the locomotive since 1968, 45231 hauled its first tour to Canterbury from London Victoria on Wednesday 29 June 2005.
In 2007 45231 moved from the Mid-Hants to the East Lancashire Railway but subsequently moved again to Carnforth where it is now based and from where it continues to operate on the main line. Carnforth is no longer a museum but is now used as the base for West Coast Railway Company.
Bert Hitchen died in May 2015 but the locomotive remains owned by the family but was put up for sale in 2014. In October 2015 45231 was purchased by Jeremy Hosking and remained at West Coast Railway’s Carnforth depot in the short term.
It is to have some patch repairs to the firebox wrapper in the area of the throatplate.
The locomotive is likely to move to Southall where Hosking has other locomotives based.
45231 is Main line certified until 2020 and a boiler certificate which is valid until 2023.
The locomotive is undergoing maintenance but is likely to be operational again in 2019. Test runs are scheduled for early February.
|Home Base||Current Status||Owner|
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- 45428 (LMS 5428 &BR 45428)
- 45491 (LMS 5491 & BR 45491)