My grandfather was the first person to introduce me to railways and steam engines when I was 3 to 4 years old. He had a brother who we stayed with living in Morecambe. My grandfather took me to the West Coast Main Line at Hest Bank. This was before the Duke was built. We watched all types of locomotives operating on WCML. These were my first memories of Duchesses and Princesses.
My first recollection of the Duke was hauling the Mid-Day Scot which it hauled frequently in the late 50’s. However my real interest began after meeting Peter King and Colin Rhodes during the restoration at Loughborough.
I cannot remember the exact year Peter King asked me to be a Trust Member but I think it was in the late 70’s and my role was fundraising. During this time I became a Director of the owning company with responsibility for the sale of shares.
During my first meetings with Peter King at Loughborough in the 70’s I realised what a unique locomotive 71000 was and I also realised how much work had to be done and at what seemed to be an enormous cost.
Everyone said it will never run on the main line-but it did! That was down to a dedicated group of people of which I was proud to be one who had this Impossible Dream.
This is why now it must be restored to main line operation. A much easier task than when the Locomotive was first restored.I remember the thrill of the Duke’s first run at Loughborough after the first restoration. Equally I remember its first run over Settle and Carlisle. At the moment I just wish to see the Duke running again.
Updated February 2021