Last Blast Appeal
The Bahamas Locomotive Society (BLS) bought 45596 Bahamas in 1967, following its withdrawal from service at Stockport Edgeley Motive Power Depot. Since then, the locomotive has been three overhauls. The first was by the Hunslet Engine Company in Leeds, completed in March 1968. The next overhaul was undertaken by Society members and was completed in August 1988. At this time, the engine was housed at the BLS’s base at the Dinting Railway Centre near Glossop in Derbyshire. The latest overhaul was completed at Tyseley Locomotive Works in January 2019.
During its first overhaul, it was repainted in LMSR crimson-lake livery and numbered 5596. Still, during its second overhaul, it was restored authentically in British Railways Brunswick green livery with its BR number 45596. After its first overhaul Bahamas was selected by BR to be one of the few locomotives chosen to haul a series of embryonic ‘Return to Steam’ excursions; following its second repair, we ran it on the main line (1989 – 1994) before it operated on several heritage railways until its boiler certificate expired during December 1997. Following a long period of exhibition at Oxenhope on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway (KWVR), 45596 moved to the National Railway Museum at York for their Railfest event in 2012, where it remained until its return to Ingrow in April 2013.
A small group of supporters has been saving regularly for several years. With the assistance of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, sufficient money was raised to complete its third overhaul successfully.
Why is the Appeal called STEAM’S LAST BLAST?
We have discovered that Bahamas was actually used by BR for its very last experiment designed to improve the performance of its steam fleet. That was the fitting, in May 1961, of its double chimney and blast pipe. When we bought the engine, we knew that 45596 was unique but we had not appreciated what an important role it played in the history of steam performance in the UK, a progression of development that began with Rocket in the 1820s and ended with Bahamas in 1961.
How can you help?
We launched this Appeal in 2011 to raise funds for 45596’s overhaul and although modified slightly, it is still open to support the ongoing maintenance of the engine and to ensure that funds are built up for its next overhaul.
Either one-off or regular donations can be made, which, if you are a UK taxpayer, will be augmented by 25% at no further cost to you if you GIFT AID your donations.
The BLS Website (www.bahamas45596.co.uk) has facilities to pay by PayPal for one-off donations but regular donations can be made by Standing Order.