July Heritage News

A roundup of July's steam heritage news.

Peak Rail Opens to Matlock

Peak Rail has returned to Network Rail’s Matlock station. Hitherto, the heritage line from Rowsley South terminated at its own Matlock Riverside platform around half a mile short of the main line terminus in Matlock.

Years of patient, and sometimes frustrating, negotiations finally came to fruition this spring when track alterations enabling Peak Rail’s line to continue beyond its ‘temporary’ Riverside station to Matlock proper, thus reinstating the heritage line’s link with the national network, were undertaken. Track was then laid through the otherwise redundant platform 2 of Matlock station, opposite the Up platform used by East Midlands trains, and the old Down platform prepared for use by the heritage line.

Achieving its Matlock ambitions was celebrated by a July 1 special train for Peak Rail members and shareholders followed by a three day festival starting with the official opening of public heritage services to Matlock proper on July 2. The next day saw official opening of Rowsley engine shed and July 4 a ceremonial unveiling of the National Heritage Award made to Peak Rail in relation to the installation of the turntable at Rowsley South.

All Peak Rail services now run to platform 2 at Matlock main line station, access being by a path from the Sainsbury’s superstore and over a footbridge above the railway. Matlock Riverside is no longer in use, although the platform remains in place.

Aside from giving easy access to Peak Rail by train over the national network, reinstating the link from main line to heritage railway makes Peak Rail a potentially very attractive rail tour destination with its operational turntable and extensive locomotive servicing facilities at Rowsley South.

One ‘Austerity’ Done, Another to Go at Bo’ness

Having completed the major overhaul of Bagnall 0-6-0ST ‘Austerity’ No. 7 (2777/1945) which has now run for the first time since withdrawal by the NCB from service at Comrie Colliery in West Fife over 30 years ago, the Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway has shifted attention to completing the overhaul of Hunslet 0-6-0ST ‘Austerity’ No. 19 (3818/1954).

Tyseley Pannier Returns to Operation for LT end of Steam Anniversary

Tyseley Locomotive Works completed a fast track overhaul of its Pannier No. 7752 in time for it to steam during its June 25-26 Open Days. The 0-6-0PT has been finished in London Transport maroon as No. L94 to mark the 40th anniversary of it working the final LT steam operation, an engineering train which it hauled on June 6 1971.

Main Line Future for Ex-Barry Bulleids

Two ex-Barry condition Bulleid Pacifics look set to have new owners, each having the intention of restoring the locos for operation on the main line.

Neither deal is finalised but it looks as though ‘Merchant Navy’ No. 35018 British India Line, presently stored at South Coast Steam’s Isle of Portland site, will be bought by loco engineer Ian Riley. This Bulleid was withdrawn by BR in August 1964 and arrived at Barry scrapyard in December 1964. It left Barry in March 1980 for the Mid-Hants Railway and was subsequently moved to Portland in 2003.

The potential purchaser of ‘Battle of Britain’ Pacific No. 34073 249 Squadron is not being identified at present. No. 34073 was withdrawn in June 1964, arrived at Barry in April 1965 and left in February 1988, initially for the Brighton Works Project. When that scheme collapsed it was sold and went to the Mid-Hants Railway, then moved to the East Lancashire Railway’s Buckley Wells site in May 2006. If this deal proceeds it is likely to be relocated to another engineering works for restoration.

Ian Riley also owns ‘Merchant Navy’ No. 35009 Shaw Savill but has not commenced restoration of the ‘kit of parts’ (the major components had been displayed for several years outside the Designer Village shopping complex in Swindon) he purchased in July 2003.

Just Giving Towards LBR Gateway Project

The Leighton Buzzard Railway is preparing an application for HLF assistance towards its £685,000 Museum Gateway project. The building, a ‘gateway’ to the railway (which is an accredited museum) will incorporate community, volunteer and educational facilities. The project also encompasses rebuilding a platform, external refurbishment of the buffet building, an improved station approach and increased car parking.

Donations can be made on line, visit www.justgiving.com/LeightonBuzzardRailway/donate, or follow the Museum Gateway link on LBR’s website at www.buzzrail.co.uk.

Models of the planned new building have been made in the form of collection boxes for smaller donations at the railway.

Didcot Pannier on Extended Visit to Swindon & Cricklade

The Great Western Society’s Pannier No. 3650 left Didcot for the first time since it entered preservation on July 1. It will visit the Swindon & Cricklade Railway until the end of the year, possibly to stay on into 2012. The move itself is thought to be the first time No. 3650 had ever been on a road transporter. It was originally delivered to Didcot by rail and it is assumed that delivery for colliery service in the 1960s after it ended its BR days was also effected by rail.

Hawthorn Leslie Fundraising

The Hawthorn Leslie 3837 Preservation Society is selling limited edition artwork depicting Hawthorn Leslie 0-6-0ST 3837/1934 (ex-Corby Iron & Steel Works No. 16) shunting wagons to raise funds towards its overhaul. The A3 size prints are signed and numbered by Richard Melia and available for £35, discounted if you join the society at the same time.

In another initiative, three of the loco’s supporters hope to raise £5,000 by walking some 47 miles from Leatherhead (Surrey) to Isfield (Sussex) over August 5-7. The loco was rescued from Leatherhead Leisure Centre (where it had been displayed for 25 years) and moved to the Lavender Line at Isfield in March.

Estimates indicate £60,000 to £80,000 will be needed to return the loco to steam. For more details visit www.3837.pvsonline.com or call 07989 393044.

Woolwich Draws the Crowds to Crossness

EX-Woolwich Arsenal 18in gauge Avonside 0-4-0T Woolwich (1748/1916) was displayed in public for the first time at Crossness following its move from the Royal Gunpowder Mills during the pumping station’s June 26 Historic Transport Day. Following this, stripping down of Woolwich for overhaul and a return to steam commenced.

More ex-Woolwich stock at Waltham Abbey will go to Crossness, probably including 0-4-0+0-4-0 Hunslet diesel Carnegie (4524/54). The latter needs considerable work on its gearboxes before it can run again.

A new 18in gauge railway is to be built at Crossness, although the initial focus is on restoring the equipment rather than railway building.

Joan Moves Under Her Own Steam for First Time in 20 Years

The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway’s Kerr Stuart 0-6-2T No. 12 Joan moved under its own steam for the first time since 1991 on July 3. Under overhaul for five years the work has included fitting a new Israel Newton-built boiler. Joan could return to service for the summer peak and is expected to star in the WLLR’s September 2-4 Steam Gala.

Three to Steam at Alan Keef Ltd Open Day

Three locomotives will be in steam on the 2ft gauge demonstration line during the September 24 Alan Keef Limited Annual Steam Up and Open Day. Visiting the charity event will be ‘Wren’ 0-4-0ST Peter Pan and Andrew Barclay 0-4-0T Jack with resident De Winton 0-4-0VBT Taffy also to be in steam. The works will be open to visitors, with current projects on display - possibly including a completed metre gauge Krauss for a European customer. Proceeds from the £5.00 admission (£1.50 children) go to the local church and St Michael's Hospice, Hereford.

Extra HLF Cash Boost for Ropley Redevelopment

The Mid-Hants Railway has secured an additional HLF grant of £215,300 towards the redevelopment of its Ropley MPD site. This is an increase in the percentage of the HLF’s original contribution towards the work at Ropley, bringing the total HLF award to £765,300. The extra cash will enable completion, including fitting out, of the two-storey addition to the loco shed this year. The extension, providing a machine shop, viewing gallery and volunteer facilities, will be a weather-tight shell by around the middle of August.

New Colours for NG/G No. 143 After Overhaul

The Ffestiniog Railway has completed the overhaul of the Welsh Highland Railway (Caernarfon)’s Garratt NG/G16 No. 143 at Boston Lodge works. The loco, which last ran in 2009, is now coal fired (it was previously oil fired) and the previous black livery has been replaced by medium green, edged in black with yellow/orange lining.

Extra trains have been added to the Welsh Highland Railway summer timetable increasing the number of opportunities to travel over the full length of the WHR between Porthmadog and Caernarfon. To check details of the enhanced service call the booking office on 01766 516024 or visit www.festrail.co.uk.

THE Ffestiniog Railway’s Hunslet 2-4-0STT Linda has also been repainted at Boston lodge, her pre-overhaul Penrhyn lined black livery has been replaced by FR green, the same as sister 2-4-0STT Blanche.

West Country Traffic Buoyant

South Devon Railway traffic was up 2% at the end of June compared with 2010. A factor has been a 153% increase in take-up for ‘Three Great Attractions’ tickets following a promotional push at the start of this season. This offer covers visits to the SDR, the otter and butterfly attraction at Buckfastleigh and the Rare Breeds Farm at Totnes.

The Bodmin & Wenford Railway carried over 8,000 passengers in June, its highest ever June total – 33% up on June 2010 figures and 50% higher than June 2009. Takings for the month, which included the B&WR’s 25th anniversary gala (which drew over 4,000 visitors during the 10-day event) were up 20% and 30% respectively.

Both heritage lines are easily accessible by train with national network stations at Totnes and Bodmin Parkway (a cross-platform exchange to the heritage line) respectively.

West Somerset Railway passenger numbers to the end of June were 82,029 – up on the same point last year.

ORR Closes Telford SR Following Injury to Volunteer

The Telford Steam Railway was closed throughout July and is expected to remain closed during August. A volunteer member in a team laying track at the line’s new Lawley station (the terminus of its northern extension) was seriously injured on July 2 when his legs were crushed by a rail being manoeuvred by a crane. He was airlifted to hospital with both legs broken.

The TSR initially opted to close while investigations into the accident were undertaken, but ORR identified issues in the line’s safety management documentation in the course of its own enquiry and formally issued its own notice requiring the railway not to open to the public until these were corrected.

Wensleydale Sees a Steamy Future

The Wensleydale Railway, hitherto a largely diesel/DMU operated line, has been entertaining steam locomotives since the beginning of July. NRM-owned ‘King Arthur’ No. 30777 Sir Lamiel and the Furness Railway Trust’s GWR 0-6-2T No. 5643 participated in the line’s first ever steam gala over July 1-3 followed by weekend steam through the rest of July (principally Sir Lamiel) with both locos scheduled to run again for a July 30-31 1940s Weekend.

Steam locos are expected to be working selected services until the end of October, although confirmation of the locos involved is awaited. However, the NRM’s No. 3717 City of Truro is definitely booked to appear over October 8-9. Steam has proven a big success and Wensleydale confirms it is in discussions targeted at securing resident steam.

Full Size Narrow Gauge Stars at Warley

The prototype inspiration centrepiece at November’s 2011 Warley National Model Railway Exhibition at the NEC, Birmingham will be Andrew Barclay 0-6-0T Gertrude. Restored to steam by Exmoor Transport between 2006-2009, Gertrude has been on hire at the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway since last summer.

Ffestiniog Railway-based new-build Lynton & Barnstaple 2-6-2T Lyd will be the full-size loco at the 2012 Warley show as the centre of a planned ‘Lynton & Barnstaple World’ feature. Apparently the first time this major exhibition has included a specifically themed area, it is likely to focus on L&B-inspired model layouts around the full size modern day version of the iconic Lynton & Barnstaple locomotive type.

Warley is very easy to reach, the NEC being served by its own national network station.

Bluebell Removes More Waste from Imberhorne

The Bluebell Railway undertook a further three weeks of waste removal train operations from Imberhorne tip (which blocks the line’s extension between Kingscote and East Grinstead) during July with a further five weeks of such trains planned for August and September. These trains arrive empty and depart loaded with waste to the national network via East Grinstead. Each train now has 20 wagons enabling the shipping of 1,000 tonnes of waste each day. The rate of removal hinges on available cash.

WHHR Train Run on WHR

On the evening of June 25 a five-coach Welsh Highland Heritage Railway train hauled by the WHHR’s Bagnall 0-4-2T Gelert and hired Andrew Barclay 0-6-0T Gertrude left the WHHR at Pen-y-Mount and ran on to the Ffestiniog Railway’s Welsh Highland Railway (Caernarfon). For several years the WHHR and FR have been at loggerheads over the revival of the WHR, hence this was a highly significant operation.

The train ran over the WHR between Pen-y-Mount and the site of Traeth Mawr loop, a section of line rebuilt by WHHR volunteers as a contribution to the revival of the full WHR but not used by a WHHR train since November 2008, and continued northwards over a line not previously traversed by a WHHR train.

The operation was to test braking systems (WHHR uses air braking, the FR/WHR uses vacuum) involving checking stopping distances, logically a prelude to public operations by WHHR trains over FR/WHR metals. The loco being tested, Gelert, also ran light engine to Beddgelert to take water - the first WHHR loco to traverse the scenically splendid Aberglaslyn Pass.

New Future for No. 4253 at Rolvenden

Having been purchased by the Kent & East Sussex Locomotive Co Ltd and moved from its long-term storage location at the Pontypool & Blaenavon Railway to the Kent & East Sussex Railway’s Rolvenden MPD, work has commenced on ex-Barry condition GWR 2-8-0T No. 4253. Its owners (this is not a K&ESR company project) have commenced stripping it down and report that despite outward appearances the loco is surprisingly complete. Major items missing are the connecting and side rods, crossheads and rear brake shaft. Restoration is projected to take between seven and ten years with a price tag in the region of £370,000.

The owning company (newly formed for the purpose of buying and restoring the loco) already has 44 shareholders. Shares cost £250 each, payable in £10 monthly instalments. A website is being developed at www.4253.co.uk or details can be obtained by writing to 25 Winser Road, Rolvenden Layne, Tenterden, Kent, TN17 4NL.

Tornado to Join Britannia at ‘Steel, Steam & Stars III’ Gala

New-build A1 No. 60163 Tornado has been added to the guest list for the 6880 Betton Grange Society’s April 21-29 2012 ‘Steel, Steam & Stars III’ gala at the Llangollen Railway. It joins the previously announced attendance of BR 7P No. 70000 Britannia, with at least three more visiting locomotives anticipated.

Large Prairie No. 5199 (owned by 5199 Project and nominally Llangollen-based although it has been on hire to the Churnet Valley Railway since 2009) will appear in BR black for the first time in preservation at the SSSIII gala.

Extra HLF Cash for GWS Railmotor and Trailer

The Great Western Society has received an additional £371,000 grant from the HLF towards the restoration of steam Railmotor No. 93 and accompanying 1912-built trailer No. 92. The Railmotor returned to operation at Didcot in May while restoration of the trailer continues at Llangollen with completion expected around spring 2013. The extra cash covers additional costs incurred during the restoration project.

With this additional award, the total HLF grant towards this project amounts to £1,139,500. In addition, the GWS raised around £525,000 to finance the Railmotor’s boiler and power bogie, plus the shed built at Didcot to house the two vehicles (funded by a legacy) has cost around £170,000. The total project has involved expenditure of something in the region of £2million.

Thieves Sever Middleton Railway

The Middleton Railway was hit by scrap metal thieves immediately prior to its June 18-19 Hudswell Clarke anniversary gala. A morning line check revealed smashed chairs and stolen keys over seven lengths of track between Moor Road and Middleton Park Halt. The theft and damage meant abandonment of gala plans and the rapid introduction of a limited passenger service over the line’s Balm Road Branch plus footplate rides in Moor Road yard.

The railway can only use its Balm Road branch for passenger trains on six days a year. With four used and two ‘reserved’ for its August gala, the theft effectively closed the railway until repairs could be made to the main line. This work was completed in time for re-opening of normal passenger services on July 10.

The scrap value of the stolen items is minimal, but lost income while the railway was effectively closed plus the cost of reinstatement work has probably cost the Middleton between £5,000 and £6,000. It has also delayed the re-launch of NER Y7 (now H class following overhaul alterations) 0-4-0T No. 1310 following its overhaul, volunteer effort having to be diverted to track repairs rather than completion of the loco.

‘Made in Staffordshire’ Theme for AVLR Gala

The Moseley Railway Trust’s September 10-11 gala at the Apedale Valley Light Railway will have a ‘Made in Staffordshire’ theme. Visiting locos will be the Amerton Railway’s Bagnall 0-4-0ST 1491/1897 Isabel and an 0-4-0ST Hunslet (either Jack Lane or Statfold) from the Statfold Barn Railway, with resident Kerr Stuart 2395/1917 0-4-2ST Stanhope also in action.

MRT hopes Kerr Stuart ‘Joffre’ 0-6-0T No. 3014 will debut in steam if its restoration is completed in time. This would be the first time the loco has been seen in steam in public since the 1950s.


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