Shropshire Star

Unique steam loco to run through Shropshire on Thursday - when and where to see it

A unique steam engine that shares its name with a popular children's TV programme is to run through Shropshire on Thursday.

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Blue Peter on test at the Severn Valley Railway. Photo: Locomotive Services Limited

The express locomotive, 60532 Blue Peter, will be on test as it steams through the county, pulling its first train on the mainline for nearly 23 years.

Blue Peter will be running a circular route, starting and finishing at Crewe, which will take it via Chester, Shrewsbury and Stafford.

The loco has just returned to its base in Crewe after several weeks of testing at the Severn Valley Railway following a seven-year overhaul by Locomotive Services Limited.

An A2 class express engine, it was one of 15 built by the London & North Eastern Railway, and latterly British Railways, in the late 1940s.

Blue Peter was completed in early 1948 and spent nearly all of its working life in Scotland until being withdrawn from service in 1966. The other 14 members of the class were taken out of service between 1962 and 1966 and scrapped.

Despite being named after a race horse, its association with the children's show of the same title started in the late 1960s as enthusiasts bought the loco and restored it.

In 1994 it suffered extensive damage during a catastrophic uncontrolled wheel slip, when its driving wheels reached a rotational speed of 140mph as the locomotive pulled away from a stop at Durham, before parts of the motion disintegrated.