35018 "British India Line" takes on the 'End of Southern Steam' tour 09/07/2021

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On the 9th of July 1967, the final fires were dropped and whistles silenced, as steam came to an end on the southern region. 54 years later to the day, the Railway Touring Company would commemorate the occasion with their 'End of Southern Steam' tour. Ex-SR Rebuilt 'Merchant Navy' Class - 35018 "British India Line" would provide traction for the tour, as the southern thoroughbred returned to its former stomping ground.

The tour started out of London Victoria behind 35018, travelling via Feltham to Byfleet & New Haw, where the excursion joined the South West Mainline as far as Worting Junction. The tour then ventured onto the West of Endland Mainline, working through Salisbury to Yeovil Junction. West Coast Railways Class 47 - 47245 "V. E. Day 75th Anniversary" would then take the helm, working the tour to Weymouth via a reversal up to Yeovil Pen Mill. Meanwhile, the Bulleid pacific was turned and serviced at the Yeovil Railway Centre, prior to chasing the tour to Weymouth. With 35018 back in control, the consist would make a dash up the SMWL, and returning to London Victoria via Feltham once again.

Picking up the tour just south of Egham, the Bulleid pacific is captured having its progress hampered on approach to Virginia Water, with the consist slowing as it passed the cameras. Better luck was to be had at Potbridge, as "British India Line" accelerates hard away from its water stop at Winchfield. Following a dash to the west, 35018 is caught pounding through Semley en-route to Yeovil. The cameras then took some time out to witness the Bulleid amid servicing at Yeovil, before catching its light movement to Weymouth at Bincombe. Staying at Bincombe, 35018 put on a stellar performance as it romped up the 1-in-50 gradient of Upwey bank. Finally, in the dying light, the 'Merchant Navy' is seen working through Eastleigh on its way back to the capital.

All footage filmed on Friday the 9th of July 2021.
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