by Phil Marsh

Great Western locomotives star at North Yorks and West Somerset Railway Autumn Galas

Published: 7th September 2014

Long lost locomotives to be recreated in Somerset as S&D engine bows out for overhaul

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway has signed three GWR guest locomotives for its September 26-28 Autumn Steam Gala.

The Great Western Society’s GWR Mogul No. 5322 is scheduled to visit from Didcot, Cotswold Steam Preservation Ltd’s GWR 2-8-0 No. 2807 from the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway and GWR ‘Castle’ No. 5029 Nunney Castle are all lined up to appear at the three-day gala.

They said;

“Never before have we had such a line-up of GWR power in Yorkshire,” enthused NYMR managing director, Philip Benham. “We are planning to put on a spectacular show, bringing locomotives to the NYMR that have never before worked our line with 2807 and 5322 paying the first visit of their class to a heritage railway this far north. No. 5029 visited NYMR some time ago and we are delighted to see it return to really show us what it can do.”

A caveat applies to No. 5322 in that the gala visit was arranged prior to it failing with a boiler problem (a crack adjacent to a firebox washout plug) just after commencing a visit to the Bodmin & Wenford Railway earlier this season.

That visit was part of an exchange whereby B&WR-based Pannier No. 6435 and NRM-owned T9 4-4-0 No. 30120 visited Didcot while No. 5322 appeared at Bodmin. The problem which beset the Mogul meant the urgent recall of No. 6435 to Cornwall, although the T9 saw out its Didcot visit. No. 5322 returned to Didcot in early July for repairs, with the NYMR hoping work would be completed in time for it to head to North Yorkshire for the gala.

No. 5029 Nunney Castle is due to stay on at the NYMR for a month after the gala, with No. 2807 also remaining at the Moors for a while, possibly until the end of the year.

11 in steam

The Moors Line anticipates 11 locos being in steam for the three-day gala, the home fleet hopefully comprising Lambton, Hetton & Joicey 0-6-2T (‘Lambton Tank’) No. 29, ‘Black Five’ No. 44806, ‘Black Five’ No. 45428 Eric Treacy, A4 Pacific No. 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley, The Thompson B1 Locomotive Trust’s semi-resident B1 4-6-0 No. 61264 (running as No. 61034 Chiru), NELPG’s Q6 0-8-0 No. 63395, Standard 4MT No. 75029 The Green Knight (Swindon-built so reinforcing the Western influence!) and (hopefully back in service following overhaul) 4MT 2-6-0 No. 76079.

Main line steam angle for the Autumn Gala

Steam services will also feature on the Esk Valley line from Grosmont to Whitby and Battersby Station, while Scarborough & District Railway Modellers will lay on a model railway exhibition in the Learning Centre on Platform 2 at Pickering station.

Discounts (up to 10% on day rover fares) are available on pre-booked tickets, for details visit www.nymr.co.uk or call 01751 472508.

Revised identities for WSR autumn gala locos

The West Somerset Railway is lining up a spectacular show for its October 2-5 Autumn Steam Gala, the theme of which is the 50th anniversary of the end of steam at Taunton loco shed.

Visiting locos signed comprise GWR 2-8-0 No. 3802 (Llangollen), Prairie No. 5542, Mike Little’s GWR 0-4-2T No. 1450, Small Prairie No. 4566 (Severn Valley Railway), 57xx Pannier No. 4612 (Bodmin & Wenford Railway) together with GWR No. 4936 Kinlet Hall, which can be counted as a visitor although it is already spending the summer on hire at the WSR.

Identity crisis

Rather than re-name stations as the WSR often does for its big galas, Minehead-based locos will undergo identity changes appropriate to the Taunton shed theme: GWR No. 4936 Kinlet Hall will be No. 4932 Hatherton Hall, No. 6960 Raveningham Hall will become No. 7909 Heveningham Hall, GWR 2-8-0 No. 3850 will become No. 3863 and Large Prairie No. 4160 will adopt the identity of No. 4131 (withdrawn when 83B closed). Resident GWR ‘Manor’ No. 7828 will appear in its correct Odney Manor identity rather than its regular WSR guise as Norton Manor.

An auto train worked by 0-4-2T No. 1450 will run between Bishops Lydeard and Crowcombe Heathfield on the Thursday and Friday, then move to Minehead to work shuttles to Dunster over the weekend. All tender locomotives will work chimney first, being turned on the ‘table at Minehead and the triangle at Norton Fitzwarren. Tank locos will not be turned thus running either chimney or cab leading depending on direction

Last chance

The Somerset and Dorset Railway Trust’s WSR-based S&DJR 7F No. 88 is not scheduled for gala use since it does not fit the Taunton shed theme, but it is envisaged it will make a single Minehead to Bishops Lydeard trip on the Saturday afternoon and a return run to Minehead on the Sunday afternoon, forming its last gala appearance before withdrawal for 10-year overhaul.

The plan is for the 7F to return to service – appearing as BR No. 53808 - in time for the WSR’s 2016 Spring Steam Gala, which will mark the 50th anniversary of the closure of the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway. The event will comprise a March 5-6 commemoration weekend followed by a Thursday to Sunday special event. Rover tickets for the 2016 gala with a specially discounted rate will be available up to March 3 2015.

Meanwhile, the WSR has also confirmed the theme for its 2015 Spring Gala will be Steam in South Wales. This Welsh theme follows on from the success of its Cambrian-inspired 2013 event. Guest locomotives appropriate to the railway system in South Wales will be hired – and WSR stations appropriately re-named. Discounts worth up to 30% on Day Rover Tickets bought in advance are available for this event if purchased before December 31.

Discounted advance Rover tickets for these gala events can be purchased online at www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk or by phone from 01643 704996.

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