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I know that most steam buffs (and I include myself) don't really think of diesels or electrics as being old enough to qualify as heritage traction - they are too modern! But at the turn of the year, the electric loco that I own, 86259, was 50 years old! That's heritage enough in my book, so I decided to mark the occasion - I haven't got the patience to wait for the centenary! "So", I thought, "this is as good a time as any to change the name of the loco". Of course 86259 only came into my life as a result of Virgin Trains naming it after me on my retirement from presenting the BRMB Radio breakfast show in 2002. Quite a privilege to have a working main-line loco named after you - especially if you are still alive!

Well, as I still had some vanity left, I decided to change the name of the loco, on one side only! So, one side would still carry the LES ROSS nameplate and on the other side I would put the 'new' name ..... but it wasn't that new. The name that came to mind which would celebrate 86259's 50 years of service was the name the loco carried originally, although not from new. British Railways did not start naming the class 86 electric locomotives until the late 1970s, and 86259 didn't receive its first name until 1979, when it was already nearly 14 years old. So, last October, at the Tyseley Locomotive Works Open Weekend, 86259 was renamed PETER PAN, exactly 36 years and 1 day after its first such naming!

Tyseley was the obvious place to have the ceremony. It was here that 86259, after a couple of years in store, was resurrected, due in hugh part to Bob Meanley and the team that he assembled. Tyseley can still make the proud claim that it is the only loco works that has restored steam, diesel AND electric locos to main-line working order.

I asked Ben Mason "Which day of the Open Weekend should we hold the naming ceremony? Saturday or Sunday?" Of course he replied "Both!" So we did, although both ceremonies had their differences. On Saturday 24th October, 86259 was pulled onto the turntable by the little Peckett tank and, after some waffle from me and an entertaining speech from Bob Meanley, he pulled the cord on my home-made nameplate cover and revealed PETER PAN to the world! Unfortunately some bits of duct tape, which I'd used to secure the cover, remained stuck to the nameplate, but Bob was tall enough to remove them!

Sunday's weather was much brighter and drier for naming ceremony number 2 and, after Bob again contributed with his speech, the nameplate was uncovered (again!) by 10 year old Jacob Taylor, the son of the West Coast Railway Company Operations Manager (South), Andy Taylor - and it was so appropriate for a child to name the loco PETER PAN, as had happened the first time round, all those decades ago! (see 86259 The Nameplates)

86259 also featured live on BBC Radio WM's Sunday morning "Hunted" programme when 'The Hunter' Debi Massey tracked me down to Tyseley Loco Works just an hour before the naming ceremony. Also at the event was Ellie, the listener to my breakfast radio show back in 2002 who had made the suggestion to BRMB that they arrange for a loco to be named after me as a leaving present - but that, as they say, is another story!

Webmaster's note. The renaming of 86259 was performed on both days to give all of the visitors to the Open Weekend the opportunity to witness it. '259 brought itself up 'light engine' to Nuneaton on Tuesday 20th and was dragged from there to Tyseley (on the non-electrified line) by a Tyseley Locomotive Works diesel engine. An excellent video of the Saturday unveiling of the 'Peter Pan' nameplate was published by SimOn Trains on YouTube and the Sunday ceremony, which had better weather, was covered by Thomas Nicklin. There is also an interesting collection of photographs, again on YouTube, taken at the predominantly-steam event by 'harry4468'.

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The new Peter Pan nameplate being riveted on at Tyseley Locomotive Works by Dave Ruston prior to the renaming ceremony. The nameplate was cast at 7/8ths of the size of the original so that its rivet holes aligned exactly with those of the Les Ross plate which it replaced.

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Les and Bob Meanley waiting for the naming ceremony to begin on Saturday 24th. The ceremony was repeated on the following day for the benefit of more Open Weekend visitors.

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A decent crowd gathering while 86259 is dragged onto the turntable by the Peckett tank engine. The sunshine indicates that it is Sunday 25th October.

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A cake made locally (Knowle) which was shared with attendees on Sunday 25th October. An identical cake for the Saturday ceremony was not used due to inclement weather but was given to Jacob Taylor, who performed both unveilings, to take to school to share with his friends.

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Left to right, Debi Massey holding the microphone, some fly-by-night former disc jockey and then Ellie.

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Ellie, looking gorgeous in her 60's, posing provocatively in the driver's seat holding the notching lever as she imagines reaching 100mph!