The Latest Preserved Railway Steam Gala Changes for Early Season Events

Published 4th March 2013

the latest news on changes to loco operating plans around the UK’s steam railways.

All steam events have an implicit ‘subject to availability’ caveat even if it is not spelled out. Almost inevitably a number of the early 2013 season events have seen changes in the planned line up of home-based and visiting locos.

Braunton unable to return for WSR Spring Gala

Rebuilt ‘West Country’ No. 34046 Braunton will not appear at the West Somerset Railway’s Spring Steam Gala, an event which spans March 16-24. The loco is fine, but it has yet to be fitted with the new GSMR (Global System for Mobile Communications – Railway) equipment required for main line running south of Birmingham. It cannot therefore arrive at the gala via the main line as had been expected.

The rest of the projected WSR gala line-up stands as anticipated, comprising visits by S160 2-8-0 No. 6046 (from the Churnet Valley Railway), the NRM’s No. 777 Sir Lamiel, Prairie No. 5542 and Didcot-based GWR Steam Railmotor No. 93, with the home-fleet expected to be No. 6960 Raveningham Hall, No. 7828 Norton Manor (nee Odney Manor), Large Prairie No. 4160, GWR 2-8-0 No. 3850 and Mogul No. 9351.

The Somerset and Dorset Railway Trust’s S&DJR 7F 2-8-0 No. 88 will appear if it returns in time from Crewe following boiler work. The trust’s Peckett 0-4-0ST No. 1788 Kilmersdon (out of traffic undergoing overhaul since July 2011) will be displayed at its Washford base following reassembly showing off its newly applied ‘S&DJR’ Prussian blue livery, but is not expected to be in steam.

Check the advance publicity leaflet (with booking information) available at for details of operations during the eight days of running during this event, including workings by the Steam Railmotor and auto-train which encompass Bishop’s Lydeard to Allerford platform (Norton Fitzwarren triangle) shuttles as well as all-line trips and advance booking requirements.

Although unable to travel south, No. 34046 Braunton was available to unexpectedly be added to the East Lancashire Railway’s February 23-24 steam weekend.

Big changes for non-standard NNR gala

The North Norfolk Railway has had no option but to significantly re-cast its March 8-10 and 16-17 gala. Originally pitched as a 100% BR Standards gala, this will no longer be the case, although the event still promises to be a cracker beside the sea.

Additions to the previously publicised visiting locos are Ian Riley’s ‘Black Five’ No. 45407 (March 8-10 only) and GWR Large Prairie No. 4141 from the Epping Ongar Railway. A third extra visitor is also possible.

Standard losses

The first ‘Standard’ to drop out of the event was Standard Five 4-6-0 No. 73129 from the Midland Railway – Butterley with superheater problems which are unlikely to be resolved before April at best. Next to go by the wayside was NRM-owned No. 70013 Oliver Cromwell as winter work at Loughborough (Great Central Railway) over-ran, making it unlikely the ‘Brit’ would make its planned early March main line dates, which included arriving at the NNR over Sheringham level crossing.

Finally, it became clear the inspiration behind the Riddles Standards concept for the gala in the first place, unveiling newly restored BR Standard Class 4 No. 76084 into traffic at the NNR, was looking unlikely. The loco’s owners, The 76084 Locomotive Company, were encountering delays in finishing restoration of the locomotive at Morpeth (the tender is already at Weybourne waiting for the loco to arrive) attributed to manpower and funding constraints, compounded by heavy snow in Northumberland. Although the NNR still held out some hope it might arrive, No. 76084’s owners admit entering traffic in April is most likely.

The rest of the event roster should comprise visits by Llangollen-based BR 2-6-4T No. 80072, 7P ‘Britannia’ No. 70000 Britannia (via the national network) and BR 2MT No. 78019 from the Great Central Railway to join David Shepherd’s 9F No. 92203 Black Prince (presently an NNR resident).

In addition, the M&GNJR Society’s Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0ST Wissington (1700/1938) will be in steam as Weybourne pilot.

‘USA’ rather than ‘Jinty’ 0-6-0T for SVR gala

The Severn Valley Railway’s March 22-24 Spring Gala will now feature a visit by SR ‘USA’ 0-6-0T No. 65. This is a Kent & East Sussex Railway loco, although it has been running at the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway since late last year. The ‘USA’ takes the slot originally expected to be filled by Ian Riley’s newly acquired ‘Jinty’ No. 47298, which had been expected to appear for the first time in black livery following removal of its ‘Thomas’ character colours.

Other guests are still expected to comprise Mike Little’s GWR 0-4-2T No. 1450, BR 2-6-4T No. 80072 (from the Llangollen Railway) and ‘West Country’ No. 34007 Wadebridge from the Mid-Hants Railway.

SVR-based locos expected to be in action include ‘Battle of Britain’ No. 34053 Sir Keith Park, Pannier No. 1501, Large Prairie No. 5164 and Small Prairie No. 4566.

SVR-based Ivatt 4MT 2-6-0 No. 43106 (never listed as likely to run during the gala) is undergoing an ‘early’ overhaul at Bridgnorth works. The boiler was lifted in January as part of the extensive dismantling required to fit a replacement drag box. The work is classified as an ‘intermediate repair’ with the small tubes to be replaced while the boiler is off the frames with the intention of securing a new boiler ticket at the end of the work.

Now it’s five to steam at Peak Rail ‘Austerity’ gala

The March 9-10 gala at Peak Rail marking 70 years of the ‘Austerity’ type locomotive will now feature five of the 0-6-0ST types in steam.

Two locos have been added to the event since the last update ( with the newly booked visitors being RSH 0-6-0ST 7169/1945 ‘Mech. Navvies Ltd.’ (WD No. 71515) from the Pontypool & Blaenavon Railway and the Dean Forest Railway’s Hunslet 0-6-0ST Wilbert. Meanwhile, ex-Wemyss Private Railway No. 15 0-6-0ST AB2183/1943 Earl David will not now be attending.

Four of the five will run on the main line: RSH 0-6-0ST 7169/1945 ‘Mech. Navvies Ltd.’ (WD No. 71515), Hunslet 0-6-0ST Wilbert, Hunslet 0-6-0ST 3883/1962 Lord Phil and Hunslet 0-6-0ST 3163/1943 Sapper. The fifth ‘Austerity’ in steam - Peak Rail resident RSH 0-6-0ST 7136/1944 (appearing as Royal Pioneer) – will work ‘Driver for a Fiver’ turns in Rowsley South sidings. Hunslet 0-6-0ST Swiftsure (HE2857/1943) will be displayed static on Rowsley turntable.

The event will herald Peak Rail’s first ever two-train services between Rowsley South and Matlock (platform 2 of the main line station) with the last train of each day having at least three, probably four, locos involved. The Saturday evening multi-header will run into Matlock (the return working being by a single loco), the Sunday multi-header will be the departure from Matlock (the arrival being single-headed).

An early morning freight will run to Matlock Riverside during the event, the most intensive operation ever run by Peak Rail, while an evening line up of all six ‘Austerities’ is planned for Rowsley.

Beattie WT joins T9 for Battlefield Line gala

The Buckinghamshire Railway Centre’s Beattie 2-4-0WT No. 30585 has been added to the guest list for the Battlefield Line’s March 16-17 Gala Weekend. It joins Bodmin & Wenford Railway based, NRM-owned, LSWR T9 ‘Greyhound’ No. 30120.

Although it will not be at Shackerstone for the spring gala, the South Devon Railway’s 2-8-0 No. 3803 will return to the Battlefield Line for a further hire (it has spent the last two years at Shackerstone) later this year. The 2-8-0 left Shackerstone to appear at the Great Central Railway’s January Winter Gala and February mini-gala, then back home to Buckfastleigh for work including attention to the cross heads.


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