F.63 Pre-Season Test Train : 7th March ’23
There was a stock train on the afternoon of Tuesday 7th March headed by No.11 Maitland hauling F.54, F.62, F.63, runner F.57 and F.45 the full length of the line, the first time restored “pairs” carriage F.63 has made the journey since returning to home metals earlier in the year. The train passed a permanent way train with No.25 Sprout hauling the well wagon at Castletown Station before continuing to the southern terminus. On arrival No.24 Betsy was in use to shunt the stock, leaving F.45, F.62 and F.45 south and taking F.49 and F.9 back to the capital with F.63.
The opportunity was also taken to shunt H.1 into the museum but unfortunately this was found not to fit behind M.78 and returned to the carriage shed where it joined Royal Saloon F.36 in storage. The test train was significant in that it was the first time since 1987 that a train with three of the “pairs” carriages has been seen on the railway, this was the last season that F.63 ran in traffic. The standard of work by Stanegate Restorations is superb as can be seen in the accompanying views. The season commences this Friday, 10th March when timetable “R” will be in place across three days.