Saturday, 4 August 2012

The Iron Maiden

I may need 'Sanctuary' occasionally but this isn't the famous English heavy metal band but another form of English heavy metal - a traction engine!

The Iron Maiden is the only traction engine to have starred alongside a V-Bomber in the 1962 film of the same name.
The Iron Maiden

The film follows Jack an aircraft designer with a passion for traction engines. His boss is eager to sell a new supersonic jet plane, Handley Page Victor, Jack has designed to an American millionaire Paul. Their first encounter goes badly and tensions heighten when Paul's daughter damages Jack's prize traction engine 'The Iron Maiden', rendering it impossible to drive solo. Jack is desperate to enter a steam rally but his fireman is injured, when all seems lost Paul steps in and they become firm friends. After an 'eventful' journey they arrive at the rally but last minute Paul is injured and unable to participate, just when you think all is lost Paul's daughter arrives and they drive the Iron Maiden to take first prize. In true cliched style the two share a kiss and The Iron Maiden boils over!

Unfortunately there are very few stills from the film but I have managed to come across this one....

Victor starring alongside Michael Craig in 1962 film The Iron Maiden

pre-The Iron Maiden days hauling stone
from quarries to Portland Harbour
'The Iron Maiden' is a Fowler 7NHP Showman's Road Locomotive and now calls The Scarborough Fair Collection home.
The engine was built in September 1920 as a road locomotive of the R3 class, with the works number 15657 and the registration number FX 6661. It was supplied new to F Barnes Ltd of Portland, Dorset for various duties including hauling heavy blocks of stone from the nearby quarries down to Portland Harbour.

She was sent back to the Fowler factory for a complete overhaul and conversion to full showman's specification. Once completed she entered fairground service with Mrs H. Oadley of Alfreton, Derbyshire and passed into preservation in 1952 when 'Kitchener' as she was then known was sold to John Crawley, the highly respected steam engine preservationist from Bedfordshire.

Iron Maiden on display at
The Scarborough Fair Collection
She received the name 'The Iron Maiden' for her starring role and has carried it ever since. Mr Crawley sold her on to Mr George Hawkins of Wadebridge, Cornwall. 

In the early 1990's she passed in to the ownership of Dr Tony Marchington who commissioned a restoration. Since being purchased by Graham Atkinson in 2003 much more additional restoration work has been carried out to keep her in fine shape.

Today, she still carries the famous legend 'Mighty In Strength And Endurance' and continues to attract considerable interest both at home and on her travels abroad. The Iron Maiden visited Elvington in 2004 for a photo with 'Lusty Lindy' reuniting with a Victor once more.

XL230 SR2 with 'sniffer' pods on the underwing tanks
The Victor which starred alongside 'The Iron Maiden' was XL230. Richard Thorpe better known for his roles in Emmerdale and The Dambusters portrays the test pilot.

XL230 and all the crew were lost on 10.5.1973 when the crew lost control and rolled over into the airfield during a night touch and go at RAF Wyton.     Lest we forget.

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