By John Horton and David Burrin
The “Bahamas” steam locomotive is coming through Thanet, not once but twice today (July 22).
Railway enthusiasts across the Isle will be able to witness a unique steam train as it passes through Minster, Ramsgate, Dumpton Park, Broadstairs, Margate, Westgate, and Birchington en route to Faversham from London Victoria – this may change to being diesel hauled due to extreme heat being a fire risk.
“The Kentish Belle” will be hauled by steam Loco “Bahamas”, number 45596, a 4-6-0 Jubilee locomotive, one of 191 which were built between 1934 and 1936,concurrently alongside “Black 5s” 4-6-0s for the London Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) both of which were designed by William Stanier.
BAHAMAS was formerly based at Stockport, Manchester working passenger services from Manchester Central to London St Pancras along the former “Cheshire Lines” route, and following withdrawal from service at the end of steam operation, 4 of the class were preserved:-
45593 KOLAPHUR – Withdrawn October 1967
45596 BAHAMAS – Withdrawn July 1966
45960 LEANDER – Withdrawn March 1964
45699 *GALATEA – Withdrawn April 1936
*GALATEA contains many parts from loco 45562 ALBERTA all used on GALATEA
BAHAMAS was stored for many years at Stockport Depot before she was moved to Leeds for Repair and onto the Dinting Railway Museuem. She returned to mainline service in 1972 and did many trips on the mainline, another overhaul began in 2013 and BAHAMAS returned to service in 2019. It is the only preserved Jubilee to sport a double chimney.
The train will depart London Victoria and head down to Ashford, Canterbury West before passing through Thanet on its way to Faversham, the train returns later in the afternoon heading back to London. The Jubilee class never appeared in the South East in regular service and its appearance is unique to the class as it is therefore the first ever visit of such a loco to the South East.
The timings of the train as it passes are as follows:
RAMSGATE arr 12:04 dep 12:07
BROADSTAIRS arr 12:12 dep 12:14
MARGATE (Plat 3) arr 12:18 dep 12:21
The return times are :
MARGATE (Plat 1) arr 16:52 dep 16:58
BROADSTAIRS arr 17:05 dep 17:07
RAMSGATE (Plat 2) arr 17:12 dep 17:14