Star of the opening day, June 1968
Purchased by two pioneering members of the KWVR directly from British Railways it arrived on the Worth Valley where it was painted maroon and, along with USA Tank No. 30072, double-headed the “Re-opening Special” in June 1968.
On Sunday 29th June 2018, resplendent in the stunning Crimson Lake livery it carried on the opening day, 41241 rightly took pride of place at the head of the 50th Anniversary Re-Opening Special re-enactment on Friday 29th June, departing Keighley at the same time as it had departed Platform 4, 50 years previous.
History of 41241 – British Railways to KWVR
41241 was constructed by British Railways (BR) being delivered new to Bath (Green Park). Moving to different engine sheds throughout its 20-year life, 41241 ended its days at Skipton before coming to the KWVR
Built: 1949 Crewe
Boiler Pressure: 200 psi
Tractive Effort: 17,410 lbf
Weight: 65.2 tons
Valve Gear: Walschaerts
Cylinders: 16″ x 24″ lnside
Numbers carried during working career: BR 41241
In British Railways service
This class of locomotive was designed by H.G. lvatt in 1946 for the London Midland & Scottish Railway. lvatt had been very impressed with American locomotive designs used in this country during the Second World War, especially with labour-saving devices such as grease lubrication of the engine’s motion and a rocking grate in the firebox. This latter feature, for example, meant the crews did not have to use a long-handled shovel to “paddle out” the fire. He also designed the engines with repair and maintenance in mind, making most of the motion and pipework easily accessible to both crew and fitters.
No.41241 was built soon after the nationalisation of the railways in Britain (1948) and went new to Bath (Green Park), where it spent several years working the famous Somerset and Dorset Railway line. The engine was destined to be well-travelled being subsequently allocated to Bristol (Barrow Road), back to Bath (Green Park), Wellington (Shropshire), Leamington, Bangor, Croes Newydd (Wrexham) and Llandudno Junction. Its final move was to Skipton from where the engine was withdrawn and purchased by two pioneering members of the KWVR. It moved directly to Keighley from British Railways shortly before the closure of that shed, arriving under its own steam in March 1967.
Life on the KWVR
No 41241 arrived at Keighley under its own power in 1967 in good running order, having been in storage at Skipton shed since its earlier withdrawal from service. It is perhaps the most typical original branch line engine on the KWVR, making it an ideal motive power for the railway.
When the engine arrived on the Worth Valley it was painted maroon and, along with USA Tank No. 30072, double-headed the “Re-opening Special” on 29th June 1968. Resplendent in its distinctive red livery, 41241 wrote itself into Worth Valley folklore on the Re-opening Special. Although coming to the end of steam on the national network, it was forbidden to operate ex-BR locomotives in BR livery. The choice of livery decided upon was the non-authentic, but appropriate crimson, reflecting its LMS lineage.
41241 became a regular sight over the coming months and years, carrying the same in-house red livery. Passing into KWVR ownership, in the early ’70s, 41241 was a stalwart performer culminating in 1975 with its last outing onto the mainline, from Keighley to Shildon, Co. Durham for Stockton and Darlington 125 celebrations.
As railway preservation matured the move towards authenticity increased pressure on the Railway and Ivatt 2-6-2T 41241, built by British Railways, gained its authentic BR lined black livery, the only livery it carried on the national network when it returned to service in September 1980 after overhaul.
Withdrawn from service, 41241 was stored and took its place in the restoration queue. With the 50th Anniversary looming in 2018, the locomotive was stripped for overhaul and the subject of an appeal to have her fully restored in time to haul a train in celebration of 50 years of preservation of the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway. Resplendent in the stunning Crimson Lake livery it carried on the opening day, on Sunday 24th June 2018, 41241 was launched back into traffic on the first day of the Railway’s 50th Anniversary celebrations. Five days later 41241, rightly took pride of place at the head of the 50th Anniversary Re-Opening Special re-enactment on Friday 29th June, departing Keighley at the same time as it had departed Platform 4, 50 years previous.
41241 is now a regular member of the operating fleet and should be seen on the Railway until 2028 when the next overhaul will become due.