The Sherwood Forester is back in action!

If you were travelling across London earlier today, or in central Hampshire, you might’ve heard a peculiar hoot. If so, you heard the unmistakable sound of  The Sherwood Forester as she made her way from London to the Watercress Line.

Remembering Bert Hitchen

Formerly owned and lovingly cared for by the late Bert Hitchen, The Sherwood Forester was purchased by Icons Of Steam and has spent the past two years out of service. Most recently, receiving attention from our team at LNWR Heritage in Crewe.

In memory of Bert, No. 45231 now carries the shed code 56D for Mirfield, which would have been Bert’s home shed under British Railways. We hope this is a fitting tribute to a gentleman who took such care of this fantastic locomotive.

The Sherwood Forester departs Southall.

The coming months

While The Sherwood Forester has a mainline certificate – which allowed her to travel from Crewe to our Southall Depot, and today on to the Watercress Line – we are pleased to announce she will spend the coming months at the Watercress Line in Hampshire. Rest assured though that you will be seeing No. 45231 on the mainline again in the future!

In December, The Sherwood Forester will be making friends with Father Christmas, hauling Santa Special trains on the Watercress Line – if you would like to meet Santa aboard a steam train there are still tickets available for Santa Specials on the Watercress Line!

15 Guinea Special

Next year, No. 45231 will be starring alongside Watercress Line resident No. 45379 at the railway’s Pre-Spring Steam Gala. To mark 50 years since the end of British Railways steam, this event will see all of the line’s home fleet in action and feature a recreation of the famous 15 Guinea Special.

This was the last steam hauled train operated by BR and included haulage by (among other engines) two Black Fives. The Watercress Line’s recreation will feature The Sherwood Forester and No. 45379 double heading, just as the two Black 5’s did in 1968!

Photography by Sean Levell, Martyn Bane and Paul Hill.