The final preserved railway tranche of steam galas will be held on the last weekend in October and the first weekend in November.
The Mid-Hants Railway’s October 28-30 Autumn Steam Spectacular will feature visits by A1 No. 60163 Tornado, No. 70000 Britannia, A4 No. 4492 Dominion of New Zealand (a.k.a. No. 60019 Bittern) and LNER N2 0-6-2T No. 1744.
The home fleet should comprise 9F No. 92212, No. 850 Lord Nelson, ‘West Country’ No. 34007 Wadebridge, ‘Black Five’ No. 45379 and U class No. 31806. A pretty breathtaking nine-loco line up!
The MHR is easily reached by rail at the shared Alton station where a cross platform interchange links the steam trains with South West Trains’ services.
Drummond Locomotive Ltd’s LSWR M7 0-4-4T No. 53, normally based at the Swanage Railway, will visit the Spa Valley Railway’s October 28-30 Autumn Steam Gala. The event will be themed around the anniversary of the last train over the Dunton Green – Westerham branch which ran on October 28 1961. This branch came close to becoming a preserved railway, but in the event much of the trackbed was used during construction of the M25 motorway.
The Spa Valley’s stations will be ‘renamed’: Westerham (Tunbridge Wells West), Chevening Halt (High Rocks Halt), Brasted (Groombridge) and Dunton Green (Eridge).
The Bluebell Railway is holding a Vintage Trains Gala Weekend over November 4-6. The gala traditionally held on these dates is more usually branded as ‘Giants of Steam’ but was to be replaced by a ‘South Eastern Gala’ on the basis of celebrating the return to service of SECR H class 0-4-4T No. 263 following overhaul.
The H class will not be quite ready in time as things have turned out and the South Eastern theme will be held back until next year when No. 263 will be ready to form the star attraction.
The Vintage Trains weekend promises use of the Bluebell’s wonderful fleet of older locomotives (seven locos should be in steam with ages ranging from 80 to 136 years) and carriages.
The Bluebell Railway can be reached by train to East Grinstead and a bus connection or via Haywards Heath and a bus.