80072 courtesy of Phil Marsh

Heritage Railways Line Up April 2013 Steam Feasts

Published 25th March 2013

Steam events to look out for in April at some of Britain’s heritage lines.

Pannier power at Bodmin

The Bodmin & Wenford Railway’s April 12-14 spring gala is the place to be for fans of the hard working, always useful, family of GWR 0-6-0PTs usually simply tagged ‘Panniers’.

The Flour Mill workshops in the Forest of Dean is pulling out all the stops to finish overhauling Bodmin’s Pannier No. 4612 in time for it to appear at the gala. The thinking is that it should make it, although whether it will be ready to haul trains is a shade problematic, it could simply be on display.

On the basis No. 4612 will be back in time, the B&WR has been working to set up an all-Pannier event to welcome it home – which just might be the first time in UK preservation five GWR/BR(WR) Panniers have been gathered together for such an event.

The ‘famous five’ will comprise (hopefully) No. 4612, Bodmin’s No. 6435 (which returned to traffic late last year and now carries BR lined green with later crest livery) boosted by three visitors; No. 1638 from the Kent & East Sussex Railway, No. 1369 from the South Devon Railway and Severn Valley Railway based Pannier No. 1501.

Although the aim is to centre the gala wholly on 0-6-0PTs, if necessary other Bodmin-based locos will be steamed, so a good event is on the cards however things work out.

The B&WR plans to back up its Pannier-centric gala with a further special Pannier event on April 27-28. This should feature Bodmin’s Nos. 6435 and 4612 and the K&ESR’s visiting No. 1638. Plans originally envisaged the Severn Valley’s No. 1501 also staying on for this weekend but that element of its visit to Cornwall has had to be dropped, it being needed back at the SVR. South Devon’s No. 1369 was not booked to stay for this event.

Travel to the gala by train, the heritage line has a cross platform exchange with the national network at Bodmin Parkway station.

Railmotor + trailer and BR black No. 3802 top Llangollen gala attractions

The Great Western Society’s amazing Steam Railmotor No. 93 has been wowing the crowds at every appearance it has made during its winter/spring tour of the south-west. After running at the Bodmin & Wenford, South Devon and West Somerset Railways, not to mention its ground-breaking appearances on the Looe branch while in Cornwall, the steam self-propelled carriage is heading for North Wales.

It gets better. The Railmotor will not merely be the star of the Llangollen Railway’s April 19-21 Spring Steam Gala, it will be reunited with matching trailer No. 92, newly restored at Llangollen, to enable the pair to run together for the first time in preservation.

As if that were not enough, Llangollen has been repainting hitherto green liveried GWR 2-8-0 No. 3802 into BR black for the first time in preservation, to be unveiled at the gala.

In addition to No. 3802 the home fleet will comprise No. 7822 Foxcote Manor, ‘Black Five’ No. 44806 Kenneth Aldcroft, BR 2-6-4T No. 80072 and Pannier No. 6430.

With the landslip west of Glyndyfrdwy station, where a length of the riverbank close to the track collapsed into the River Dee last Christmas, repaired the Llangollen Railway is operational over its full length again.

Railmotor and trailer gala operations will comprise a run out of Llangollen at the start of the day, followed by working shuttles from Glyndyfrdwy to the railhead at Bonwm on the Corwen extension, through the day until returning over the full line to Llangollen at the close of the day. The Railmotor/trailer shuttles remove the need for auto-train running (normally the mode of travel to Bonwm during special steam events) releasing Pannier No. 6430 to work freight and conventional passenger services.

Cornish ‘twins’ to run at Foxfield’s ‘Bagnall Reunion’

The Foxfield Railway is holding a ‘Bagnall Reunion’ gala over April 6-7. Event guests will be ex-Port of Par Bagnall 0-4-0STs Judy (2572/1936) and Alfred (3058/1953) from the Bodmin & Wenford Railway.

Foxfield-based Bagnalls in steam will be 0-6-0ST Florence No. 2 (3059/53) and 0-4-0ST Kent Electric Power Company No. 2 (2842/1946) supported by a trio of Bagnall diesels, while out of ticket Bagnall 0-6-0ST Lewisham (2221/1927) will be displayed. In addition, Bagnall 0-4-0ST Hawarden (2623/1940) will be at Caverswall Road, but dismantled undergoing overhaul.

Astronomic steam action at Beamish Fair

Visiting steam for Beamish’s April 11-14 Great North Steam Fair will include the NRM’s replica Rocket (to work on the Waggonway) and

Manchester Museum of Science and Industry’s replica 2-2-0 Planet and two coaches, to run on Beamish’s Rowley Station line). A late addition is the hire of the Bowes Railway’s Barclay 0-4-0ST No. 22 (2274/1949) to work in the colliery area, this being cover for the possibility that Beamish’s Stephen Lewin 0-4-0ST Seaham Harbour No. 18 may not be able to steam due to what is described as a ‘beaurocratic’ insurance issue.

Two further visiting locos will make guest appearances on Beamish’s narrow gauge line, Andrew Barclay 0-4-0T Jack and Kerr Stuart ‘Wren’ 0-4-0ST Peter Pan.

The NRM’s replica Rocket will stay on a short time at Beamish to run in the colliery area during an April 20-21 ‘Old King Coal’ event. It will work demonstration coal trains, recalling the original Rocket’s later working life at Brampton.

‘Coal Tank’, Judy and Alfred for GCR Swithland Steam Gala

The Great Central Railway is holding an April 26-28 ‘Swithland Steam Gala’, the event focussing on the recently commissioned new signalling at Swithland Sidings.

A special public viewing area will be available for the first time at the location with steam shunting around Swithland including locomotives working on the first few yards of the Mountsorrel branch line which junctions with the GCR main line close to the site.

Access to Swithland will be via a complimentary shuttle bus from Quorn and Woodhouse station, with the latter also offering demonstrations of mail drops and locomotives being turned on the turntable. Quorn will also feature the Talyllyn Railway’s out-of-ticket 2ft 3in gauge Hughes 0-4-2ST No. 3 Sir Haydn which was built at the Falcon works of Hughes Locomotive & Tramway Engine Works in Loughborough. The narrow gauge loco will be posed alongside two large diesels (also built locally) as part of a ‘Made In Loughborough’ display.

Guest locos include LNWR 0-6-2T Webb ‘Coal Tank’ No. 1054 (visiting the GCR during April/May) and ex-Port of Par Bagnall 0-4-0STs Judy (2572/1936) and Alfred (3058/1953) from the Bodmin & Wenford Railway. The latter will be providing steam action around Swithland while the ‘Coal Tank’ is likely to be working freight trains on the main line.

The Great Western Society’s BR blue No. 6023 King Edward II will make a farewell appearance before returning Didcot, while GCR-based motive power is likely to include Ivatt 2MT No. 46521, 8F No. 48624, ‘Jinty’ No. 47406 and BR 2MT No. 78019.

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