If anyone has read the latest Steam Railway mag (which i have not read fully) it does talk about the possibility of both operational Kings 6023 and 6024 to be operating on the mainline next year. Didcot have tried to get 6023 on the mainline for a few years now since it was returned to steam in 2011 though every chance has been thwarted in some way, 6024 which was withdrawn in 2012 for overhaul is hoped to be bought back into service next year too. The question is what potential is there for these two machines railtour wise?
Well there is a lot of potential for these two engines as it will be a preservation first to see two Kings in steam and a first for these two to both be on the mainline (if this goes ahead of course) and there of course are plenty of tour opportunities for these two machines as well. Rather than just running them on the Great Western route you could have them run on a wider variety of routes, you could have them run on the WCML or on the Trent Valley, when was the last time a King was seen on either of these routes?
You could also do a run with a King from Paddington to Shrewsbury which would be an interesting run to say the least. There is also the potential for a trip to a heritage railway using one of these Kings, perhaps a run on the SVR or WSR would be suitable as these are former GWR Branch lines, yes they never operated on them in service but they are former GWR routes which would be fitting for a King to run on.
You could also base one of these at Tyseley and have one work some or one of Vintage Trains tours, The Moonrake, The Whistling Ghost etc, whats to say this couldn't happen, anything is possible. Vintage Trains could also arrange a tour using one of these Kings and have it banked up the Lickey by one the Panniers, now that would be a superb sight to see and something i would love to happen, if any tour operators are reading this maybe they should take note as ideas like this do have a lot of potential to become interesting tours, something of which these companies could take note of.
They could also start making their tours more interesting, Vintage Trains is one such candidate who could offer wider routes and destinations and a wider variety of traction, they can still use their own locos especially the Panniers that don't get as much outings as they should be but why not get some of the other mainline Steam Locos in to work their tours, the Kings would be very appropriate indeed.
A double header with 5043 and 6024 is also a possibility, you could even perform a double header with either King with 4965 or one of the Panniers, the possibilities are quite frankly endless.
Note: This has been an opinion blog, just me sharing my thoughts and suggestions