This engine was designed by Sir William Stanier on his arrival at the London Midland and Scottish Railway as a locomotive capable of hauling fast secondary express passenger services between major cities but where loading gauge restrictions may exclude his newly built 4-6-2 Pacific Princess Royal class engines. The class became known as Jubilees, after the first of the class was named ‘Silver Jubilee’ to coincide with celebrations to mark King George V’s 25th anniversary on the throne.
No. 45595 “Bahamas” was built by the North British Locomotive Company and entered service with the in January 1935 numbered 5596. The engine was initially allocated to Crewe before moving on to various sheds around the England and finally, as No.45596, to Stockport Edgeley in 1962. The engine remained here for four years and after hauling a number of enthusiast’s specials was withdrawn from traffic.
Purchased by the Stockport (Bahamas) Locomotive Society in mid 1967, the engine then moved to the Hunslet Engine Company in Leeds for overhaul and was restored to service in LMS Crimson Lake Livery. Late in 1968 the engine moved to the old steam shed at Dinting in Derbyshire where she remained for the next 21 years until the owning Society were required to give up their occupancy of the site. Eventually the engine and the Bahamas Locomotive Society found a new home at lngrow, here on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway in 1990.
When steam was allowed back onto the mainline by British Rail, ‘Bahamas’ was one of the selected few engines to grace the new steam scene and between 1972 and 1994 operated many railtours across the national network. Retired from mainline duty the engine ran on preserved lines until its boiler certificate expired when the locomotive was committed to Oxenhope Exhibition shed as a static exhibit.
During 2012 a successful application was made to the Heritage Lottery Fund to enable the overhaul of ‘Bahamas’ to be undertaken by contractors and thus speed the process of its return to working order. By December 2013 work had commenced on the boiler, wheels and frames at the Tyseley Locomotive Works with work on the tender and small parts at Ingrow Loco.
Work progressed to the point that on the 28th September 2018, a fully restored and resplendent 45596 steamed at Tyseley (see main image).
Returning to Ingrow early in 2019, ‘Bahamas’ made its mainline debut on the 9th February hauling a sell out commemorative special from Oxenhope to Carlisle, its first mainline outing since 1994. The feat was repeated a week later on the 16th February, their success raising hopes of future Oxenhope – Carlisle excursions.
On the 29th March 2019, a special rededication ceremony took place at Ingrow West to officially relaunch ‘Bahamas back into traffic. The images below show the celebration train making its way along the Worth Valley on a fittingly sun drenched day in West Yorkshire.