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The first guest locomotive for the Severn Valley Railway’s Autumn Steam Gala has been announced, as LNER Thompson-designed Class B1 61306 ‘Mayflower’ was named.

The SVR has agreement in principle with owners Locomotive 61306 Limited and Locomotive Services Limited for the apple-green engine to appear, and it will play a starring role at the railway’s autumn enthusiast event, which takes place over four days between 14 - 17 September.

“Securing this locomotive is definitely a coup for us,” said SVR managing director Jonathan ‘Gus’ Dunster. “As one of only two B1s in preservation, we know it’s going to prove a big draw.

“Our autumn event continues our celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the formation of the ‘Big Four’ railway companies, and ‘Mayflower’ will be a superb representative for the LNER, and it’s going to look absolutely the part paired with the SVR’s matching rake of Gresley-designed teak carriages.”

This will be the first time ‘Mayflower’ has been in public service on the SVR, although it visited in October and November last year for testing, following the installation of its air-braking system.

“We’re delighted to continue our close working relationship with Locomotive Services Group,” added Gus, “And the fact that this prestigious loco is appearing at our Gala is testament to the ongoing success of that. We were privileged to host testing for ‘Mayflower’ last year, and this came on the back of  testing ‘Braunton’, ‘Britannia’, ‘Royal Scot’ and ‘Sir Nigel Gresley’, all LSG-owned locos.

“We’ve already extended the event to four days, and added two nights of overnight services, and in the coming weeks, we’ll have further guest announcements. Plus, we’ve got some other exciting news up our sleeve, that’s sure to go down very well with our visitors. The Autumn Steam Gala is lining up to be another occasion where the SVR shows its prominence and pulling power.”

Tickets can be purchased and more information found at svr.co.uk.

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