The Swanage Railways operational U Class No. 31806 visited the North Yorkshire Moors Railway over the weekend of the 25th – 27th September 2015, and worked alongside West Country Bullied Pacific No. 34092 ‘Wells’, Q6 No. 63395, BR Standard Class 4MTs Nos. 76079 and 75029, K4 No. 61994 ‘The Great Marquees’ and Black 5 No. 45428 ‘Eric Treacy’. The locomotive was accompanied by Swanage Railway Passed Cleaner Jack Haynes and the Swanage Railways Locomotive, Carriage and Wagon Manager James Cox.
On Friday 25th September 2015 the locomotive worked its first train out of Grosmont to Pickering with the Gresley Teak set, something not uncommon in the days of steam when a train worked from Cleethorpes to Exmouth, where on occasions a U Class would have worked the train forward to Exmouth from Salisbury. 31806 then returned to Grosmont and worked a train back to Pickering. The locomotive worked its hardest up the steep 1 in 49 gradient to Goathland from Grosmont, and at times was at walking speed, but being a class 4 engine, and with seven coaches on the draw bar, it was a challenge for the locomotive, but it managed it with ease with plenty of steam and a good fire. Once 31806 and 75029 had brought its train back to Grosmont from Pickering top and tailed, it was then disposed of in Grosmont shed for another hard days work the next day.
On Saturday 26th September, 31806 was the first locomotive to leave Grosmont shed as it was working a freight photo charter between Grosmont and Goathland. 31806 ran light engine to Goathland to pick the freight up and perform run pasts through the station and numerous other locations between Grosmont and Goathland. Once the charter was over, the locomotive hauled the freight back down to Grosmont and waited to work its first passenger train to Pickering and return. Once the morning crew had worked to Pickering and back to Grosmont, they were relieved by the afternoon crew, where 31806 worked its last train of the day with 34092 ‘Wells’ in double headed mode for the journey to Pickering, and top and tail mode for the return journey to Grosmont, where the locomotive was then disposed of on Grosmont shed and left to rest in the shed in the company of 75029, 76079, 44806, 34092 and 45428.
Sunday 27th July was 31806s last day working at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway Autumn Gala. The U worked out of Grosmont on a very sunny morning for Pickering. Due to greasy rails from the fog that had only just lifted from the Esk Valley, 31806 unfortunately slipped to a stand not to far from Grosmont. After an attempted failed restart, assistance was summoned from Grosmont in the hands of Q6 no. 63395. Once assisted to Goathland, 31806 made its way to Pickering to then work another train back to Grosmont with ease with Q6 No. 63395 tailed on the rear. Having arrived back at Grosmont, 31806 then worked one final train to Pickering and return with no other locomotive.
Once the U had returned to Grosmont, it ran light engine back to the shed and its fire was left to die and would have a boiler washout a couple of days after. 31806 performed exceptionally well over the challenging gradients over the North Yorkshire Moors Railway and was well liked by its footplate crews.