and 50049 Defiance
at different stages during the Thanet Thunderer tour run for The Branch Line Society
by Hanson and Hall Rail Services Solutions
. 50008 Thunderer
had originally been advertised as the traction for the tour but a last-minute technical issue resulted in the locomotive failing its fitness to run (FTR) exam and it being substituted by 50049 Defiance
The tour carried people wishing to visit Canterbury and seaside towns of Ramsgate and Margate. It featured a mix of top 'n tail and double-headed running with the Class 50s. For the track enthusiasts, the highlight was use of Bramdean Sidings at Grove Park on the return journey, the Up Lee Spur at Hither Green and the slow lines through Wymington.
The tour started at East Midlands Parkway and went down the Midland Mainline to Bedford, crossing over to the West Coast Mainline at Bletchley. It then traversed London and travelled to Margate via Ashford International and Canterbury West. On the return leg the two Class 50s worked in a top 'n tail formation via Dover Priory, Canterbury East, Rochester and Dartford. At Bramdean Sidings they then recoupled in a double-headed formation and worked the Midland Mainline to Leicester via Corby, crossing the famous Harringworth Viaduct
, a total of 407 miles for the one-day trip. A newly-painted 66004 was then used for the final leg of the tour back to East MIdlands Parkway.
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