Published 5th March 2012
The latest news on forthcoming special steam events at Britain’s heritage lines, adding to previously reported gala plans.
The West Somerset Railway has added Llangollen Railway-based BR 2-6-4T No. 80072 to the line-up for its March 17-18 and 22-25 Spring Gala. It joins previously announced guests No. 71000 Duke of Gloucester, No. 6024 King Edward I (to be withdrawn for overhaul shortly after the event) and GWR 0-4-2T No. 1450 accompanied by auto trailer No. 178.
Locos based on the WSR expected to appear are GWR No. 6960 Raveningham Hall, GWR 4-6-0 No. 7828 Norton Manor (nee Odney Manor), GWR 2-8-0 No. 3850, Mogul No. 9351 and S&DJR 7F No. 88.
No. 1450 and the auto trailer will work gala shuttles and pose under the lights for an evening photo session at Crowcombe Heathfield, something not featured in a WSR gala for some years. The pairing will remain at the WSR and work an enhanced Bishops Lydeard to Watchet service on March 31 as part of the 150th anniversary celebrations of the Norton Fitzwarren Junction to Watchet line opening.
The gala will not feature a free Taunton to Bishops Lydeard bus link or a Taunton to Bishops Lydeard rail shuttle, both being deleted from the event to cut costs.
LSWR M7 0-4-4T No. 53 from the Swanage Railway will appear as the guest attraction at the Mid-Hants Railway’s March 23-25 Great Spring Steam Gala. This type of locomotive was a familiar sight working local services on the Watercress Line in pre-preservation days.
MHR-based locos to appear in the gala should comprise No. 850 Lord Nelson, ‘West Country’ No. 34007 Wadebridge, 9F No. 92212, ‘Black Five’ No. 45379 and U Class No. 31806. An intensive timetable will feature different loco allocations on each day and include named trains and a freight operation.
BR Standard 2 No. 78019 from the Great Central Railway will visit the South Devon Railway for Easter. It could be joined by a second visiting loco, the identity of which will not be revealed until arrangements are finalised. The SDR always puts on a special attraction for Easter, with 2012 having added significance as marking the line’s 140th anniversary. Plans for the anniversary day (May 1) are being prepared.
The South Tynedale Railway will celebrate opening its extension to Lintley Halt on April 1 with special opening day return fares of just £2!
Construction work on the extension should be finished by the end of February, leaving March free for trial running and crew training preparatory to opening the extension from Kirkhaugh to Lintley. The STR expects to continue running four trains a day, as it has since 2006, over the extended line.
STR steam for 2012 will be provided by Henschel 0-4-0Ts Helen Kathryn (28035/1948) and Thomas Edmondson (16047/1918). The line’s Chrzanow 0-6-0WTT Naklo is currently withdrawn for overhaul, while restoration of Thomas Green & Company 0-6-2ST Barber (441/1908) should be completed to enable it to enter service in 2013.
The Talyllyn Railway’s Hughes 0-4-2ST No. 3 Sir Haydn (originally Corris Railway No. 3) will visit the Corris Railway soon after Easter and be available for service until May 17. It will then be out of ticket, but stay at its old line on static display at Maespoeth through the summer. The aim is to boost interest in the Corris Railway’s project to construct a near-replica of it, which will become Corris No. 10.
The visit encompasses the May 5-7 Corris Steam Gala, when TR No. 3 will run with Corris No. 7 (itself a near-replica of TR No. 4 Edward Thomas – which was originally Corris No. 4!) – if this seems confusing, see below. The significant point is that this is the first time two steam-hauled trains have run on the Corris in preservation.
The gala will also feature double-heading and demonstration works trains, with No. 3 also likely to be in steam over May 12-13 – see www.corris.co.uk for further details.
The loco now known as Talyllyn Railway No. 3 Sir Haydn was built in 1878 for the original Corris Railway, becoming that line’s No. 3. The Corris closed in 1948 and the loco (with Corris No. 4) were purchased in 1951 to assist the preservation of the Talyllyn Railway, the pair becoming TR Nos. 3 and 4, both later being named for the first time.
No. 3 has previously made a guest appearance at Corris, in 2003. The latest visit reciprocates the appearance of the Corris Railway’s new-build 0-4-2ST No. 7 to the Talyllyn last October.
Guest loco appearances for both railways are limited, the Talyllyn and Corris being the only surviving 2ft 3in gauge lines in the country.
The Rutland Railway Museum will be re-launched as ‘Rocks By Rail: the living Ironstone Museum’ at Easter. This follows extensive redevelopment at the Cottesmore site including construction of a new platform, a ‘new look’ Quarry & Digger trail and track extensions to demonstrate working between exchange sidings and quarry and rebuilding of the museum’s central area to accommodate the revised track layouts and provide new locomotive facilities.
The museum has also launched a £35,000 appeal aimed at financing the overhaul and return to steam of its ex-Royal Navy Hawthorne Leslie 0-4-0ST Singapore (3865/1936) – famed as the loco which became a prisoner of war in 1942 following the fall of Singapore.
Guest locos participating in The 6880 Betton Grange Society’s April 21-29 2012 ‘Steel, Steam & Stars III’ gala are expected to work over the Llangollen Railway’s new extension as far as Bonwm. These will be the first steam-hauled trains since the 1960s to run over the mile and a quarter route beyond Carrog towards Corwen.
Track started to be laid on the extension in January and the railhead should easily reach Plas Bonwm farm in time to be used for the ‘SSSIII’ event.
The star-studded line up of previously announced guest locos encompasses A1 No. 60163 Tornado, BR 7P No. 70000 Britannia, LNWR ‘Super D’ No. 49395, CR 0-6-0 No. 828, LNWR 0-6-2T ‘Coal Tank’ BR No. 58926 (LNWR No. 1054) and GNR N2 No. 1744, plus long-time Llangollen resident GWR Prairie No. 5199 returning after a lengthy hire away at the Churnet Valley Railway. Locos will work over the extension ‘top and tail’ during weekday operations, with gala weekends also featuring Pannier No. 6430 and two auto coaches running in ‘sandwich’ formation to Bonwm.
Added interest will be provided by GNR N2 No. 1744 and GWR Prairie No. 5199 facing east towards Llangollen – normally locos face in the opposite direction on the Dee Valley line.
While the big names will be running on the standard gauge Llangollen Railway, Carrog will feature the astonishing sight of the Talyllyn Railway’s 2ft 3in gauge Fletcher Jennings 0-4-0WT No. 2 Dolgoch and the Ffestiniog Railway’s 1ft 11.5in gauge George England 0-4-0STT Palmerston running on the same track! To achieve the unprecedented spectacle of a TR and FR loco on the same line, a 150yd dual gauge narrow gauge (three rails) line will be laid adjacent to the standard gauge line. The narrow gauge locos will provide footplate rides and demonstration runs. There will also be miniature live steam at Carrog.
Three guest locomotives will visit Didcot Railway Centre’s May 5-7 Steam Gala, U Class No. 31806 (Mid-Hants Railway), 4MT 2-6-4T No. 80104 (Swanage Railway) and (provided the current fitting of new tubes is completed) the NRM’s No. 3717 City of Truro.
GWR locos from the home fleet will also be in action for the event, which is themed around the 60th anniversary of the majority of the Didcot, Newbury & Southampton Railway closing.
Next year, Didcot plans a repeat of the theme (parts of the DN&SR lingered on after the 1962 end of passenger services) with an envisaged line-up comprising City of Truro, T9 4-4-0 No. 30120 (Bodmin & Wenford) and GWR 0-6-0 No. 3205 (South Devon Railway) – which would have been the guest list for this year had the T9 been available.
The original Severn Valley Railway Company (1853-1872) opened the 40-mile line between Hartlebury Junction and Shrewsbury for public passenger trains on February 1 1862, creating the first rail link between Worcester and Shrewsbury. The first passenger train over the line, a ‘VIP special’, ran the previous day.
The SVR could not commemorate this 150th anniversary in February since its major Bewdley tunnel renovation project was still in full swing, so instead is holding an ‘official’ celebration over May 19-20 in the form of a Victorian Weekend.
Appropriately vintage locos signed as guests comprise the Furness Railway Trust’s 0-4-0 FR No. 20, joined by Beamish’s 1871-built Head Wrightson 0-4-0VBT (known as Coffee Pot No. 1) and Stephen Lewin 0-4-0ST Seaham Harbour No. 18. The Head Wrightson returned to steam in spring 2010 while restoration of the Stephen Lewin is presently in its final stages.
The Leighton Buzzard Railway’s June 2-4 Royal Jubilee event will centre on small engines. LBR locos 0-4-0VBT Chaloner, Baguley 0-4-0T Rishra and Kerr Stuart 0-4-0ST ‘Wren’ Pixie will be joined by two guests, Amerton-based new-build ‘Wren’ 0-4-0ST Jennie and Nick Williams’ Andrew Barclay 0-4-0T Jack.
The Saturday (June 2) is designated an enthusiasts’ day, while the remaining two days are pitched as a children’s event (‘Little Chuffers’) when the locos are likely to carry ‘special’ identities.
Pairings of small engines will also feature on Bank Holiday, June 5, passenger services.
Two further visiting locomotives for the Middleton Railway’s June 23-24 ‘200 Years of Steam Gala’ have been announced; The Vintage Carriages Trust’s 1874-built Haydock Foundry 0-6-0WT Bellerophon and the Furness Railway Trust’s 1863-built 0-4-0 FR No. 20. The latter will be the first tender locomotive to visit the Middleton Railway in preservation. These guests will join the previously announced working replica ‘Steam Elephant’, coming from Beamish.
The gala will mark the 200th anniversary of steam on the Middleton Railway, so the visit of FR No. 20 means the oldest working standard gauge locomotive will be running on the world’s oldest working steam railway.
Middleton-based locos to steam for the event should include recently overhauled NER H Class (formerly Y7) 0-4-0T No. 1310, Manning Wardle 0-6-0ST Matthew Murray (MW1601/03) and the Vintage Carriages Trust’s Manning Wardle 0-6-0ST Sir Berkeley.
Five of the participating locomotives are over 100 years old, supplemented by a replica of a loco built nearly 200 years ago, so as well as being the biggest event the Middleton Railway has ever staged it also promises to be the biggest and most historic gathering of locomotives ever seen at the Middleton line.
As if that were not sufficient, the railway also aims to have 200 live steam models in operation over the weekend. For more information visit www.middleton2012.com .
There are some treats in store on Britain’s 2ft gauge lines in September which are well worth noting in diary’s right now. Both centre on the immense role played by narrow gauge railways in industry and are being held by organisations which care for the largest collections of industrial locomotives in Britain.
The Moseley Railway Trust has selected a ‘Contractors Railways’ theme for its September 8-9 gala at the Apedale Valley Railway. Set in the location of a former coal mine, the event will feature steam and diesel motive power. Further details will be published soon, but meanwhile the MRT would like to hear from owners of vintage plant interested in exhibiting, and possibly operating, their machines to complement the railway theme of showing how roads, dams, housing estates, etc. were built with the help of narrow gauge lines.
The following weekend, the industrial focus switches to the slate industry and the huge role narrow gauge lines played in the quarries of North Wales. Bedfordshire’s Leighton Buzzard Railway, rooted in the quarry industry (it was built to carry sand from the quarries to standard gauge railheads), and an accredited museum is building up the attractions for its September 15-16 gala weekend - titled ‘The Great Slate Quarry Fest’.
LBR is also looking for model owners who would like to make this a record breaking weekend (see www.rail.co.uk/rail-news/2012/slate-locomotive-festival-record-breaker/ ) and signing up visiting locos.
Details will be confirmed shortly, but up to three first-time visitors to LBR are expected – with LBR also known to be holding a big surprise up its sleeve which no enthusiast will want to miss!