by Phil Marsh

Severn Valley and Nene Valley Railways Autumn Gala details

Published: 22nd August 2014

Double Standards at Nene Valley and ride with the driver on the Severn Valley

Tornado and 9F for Nene Valley gala

Visits by new-build A1 No. 60163 Tornado and Jeremy Hosking’s 9F 2-10-0 No. 92212 (from its Mid-Hants Railway base) will form the star attractions at the Nene Valley Railway’s September 13-14 Mixed Traffic Steam Gala weekend. The first day of the event has been designated as representing ‘Memories of The Somerset and Dorset’ with NVR-based Standard 5MT No. 73050 and No. 92212 running with 82F shed plates reminiscent of the days when the locos were stabled together at Bath Green Park. The reunited old shed mates are billed as working double-headed at some stage – with Wansford station and signalbox to adopt the identity of S&D station Midford for the day.

On Sunday September 14 the theme switches to ‘Reflections of Steam long lost’ with No. 73050 to adopt the identity of class pioneer No. 73000 (the first time the locomotive otherwise known as City of Peterborough has run with an adopted number in preservation) and 9F No. 92212 running ‘as’ No. 92199. In addition, the 9F will run double-headed with Greg Wilson’s USATC S160 2-8-0 No. 6046 (presently on hire to the NVR) which should present a pretty awesome display of steam power!

Hunslet ‘Austerity’ 0-6-0ST United Steel Works No. 22 will also be in steam, handling brake van rides over the Fletton branch from Orton Mere. These trips have a supplement fare, £5.00 per person if purchased when holding a valid rover ticket or £10 for the brake van ride only. Tickets are only obtainable from Orton Mere booking office and the trips over the Fletton branch are only available to over 16s - and there is no wheelchair access to the van.

Other gala attractions include operation of a goods train and guided tours of the loco shed and carriage and wagon shops at Wansford.

Severn Valley gala big on visiting steam locos

The Severn Valley Railway’s September 18-21 Autumn Gala (September 18 is designated a ‘Preview Day’ in advance of the September 19-21 gala proper) should feature 10 locomotives in steam.

Four visiting locos are booked: Fowler 4F No. 43924 (from the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway, making its first visit to the SVR), The Somerset and Dorset Railway Trust’s S&DJR 7F 2-8-0 No. 88 (from the West Somerset Railway), LSWR M7 0-4-4T No. 30053 (from the Swanage Railway, also making its debut on the SVR) and Caprotti valve gear Riddles 5MT No. 73129 (from the Midland Railway-Butterley). The latter has been working SVR trains since June having been hired to assist Severn Valley summer steam, the hire has been extended to encompass the gala.

SVR-based locomotives scheduled to run are Ivatt 4MT 2-6-0 No. 43106 (‘The Flying Pig’), rebuilt ‘Battle of Britain’ No. 34053 Sir Keith Park, No. 7812 Erlestoke Manor, GWR 2-8-0 No. 2857, Small Prairie No. 4566 and GWR 0-4-2T No. 1450 (which has been running at the SVR this summer) working in auto train mode. The SVR’s Pannier No. 1501 is designated ‘spare engine’.

The Thursday September 18 Preview Day will feature three locomotives (two of which will be visiting engines) in steam operating the main service. Taster Footplate Experiences between Bewdley and Kidderminster at £100 a person are sold out, while almost all tickets for brake van rides over the full length of the line as part of a goods train (£50.00 each - including an adult ticket for travel on the preview day only) had been snapped up by mid-August. Other gala attractions include all night operation on the Friday and Saturday nights.

There was conjecture that a Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway feel for the event was emerging, especially when it became known the SVR was looking at signing a Bulleid ‘West Country’. No ‘spam can’ was secured and when the LSWR M7 was added to the gala line-up the railway confirmed in mid-August this would be the final gala guest. In fairness to the SVR, no dedicated theme was ever adopted, mainly to avoid the possibility of such a theme collapsing if key participants should develop problems and have to drop out of the line-up, as has happened on the odd occasion in the past!

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