In 1990, the Scunthorpe Steelworks had hit its 100th Anniversary of Steel making in the town, and all areas of site were asked to celebrate the occasion.
The rail traffic department at the time decided to run 5 railtours, around the works, in the March, on the anniversary week for invited guests. Using a steam loco borrowed from the Rutland railway museum and a coach borrowed from the vintage carriages trust on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway.
After this event, the works Rail Traffic Department ran over 100 tours in the year (1990), mostly to people in the local town..
Towards the end of the year, members of the rail traffic dept who had been running the tours, asked about the possibility of carrying on the running the tours in the following year. The works director, Gerry Gorman suggested that a group should be formed to run the Railtours, and in September of 1990, the Appleby Frodingham Railway Preservation Society was born.
The picture to the left shows the first ever Railtour leaving the Frodingham Platform to head around the works, The tour performed to celebrate the 100 years of steel making on the Scunthorpe Works.
In the early months of 1991, the society obtained two DMU coaches (59245 and 54207) from British Railways to be used on the tours (which are still used today on the DMU Tours).
The society also accommodated “Bellerphan”, which was on loan from the Vintage Carriages Trust based at the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway. (Built in 1974 at the Haydock Foundry for the Haydock Colliery, currently preserved by the Vintage Carriages Trust. Currently on loan to the Foxfield Railway)
After a few months of the society running, the tours were opened to the wider general public, with a large advert in the paper and posters in the streets, the people came in their masses and it wasn’t long until trains were running at full capacity.
As this was our first year in operation, and as we were unable to charge passengers, we had to find a way to raise money to keep the tours running. The society decided to ask for donations, these donations from every tour have managed to keep the society running for the past 25 years.
The picture above shows “Bellerophon” at old shed occupied by the society, with former founding members Fred Baily and Doug White on the foot plate.
The picture above shows Arnold Machin (works number 2661) on her way to collect the tour from the Frodingham Platform after her first overhaul after entering preservation.