by Geoff Marsh

Rail and Ale days out in the East Midlands

Published: 25th March 2015

Great Central recreates Evening Star while Barrow Hill stages a Roundhouse Real Ale event.

The real BR ‘Standard’ Heavy Freight Class 9F 2-10-0 No. 92220 Evening Star is a treasured exhibit in the national collection displayed at the NRM’s York museum. When it left Swindon in March 1960 it may have been assigned to work on BR’s Western Region for a scandalously short five years before withdrawal in 1965, but being the last steam locomotive to be built by BR ensured its survival and perpetual fame.

There are no plans for the NRM to return Evening Star to steam, but the Great Central Railway’s April 18-19 Railways at Work Weekend will feature the next best thing - 9F No. 92214 carrying the adopted identity of No. 92220 Evening Star in its lined Brunswick Green livery.

9F No. 92214 arrived at the Great Central from its then North Yorkshire Moors Railway base in early 2014 to appear as a guest locomotive at the GCR’s January 24-26 Winter Gala. It never left, its surprise purchase by GCR director, Michael Gregory of Cromwell Tools being announced while the loco was shedded at Loughborough with its outlook being described as for ‘the dedicated use of Great Central Railway Plc’ for the foreseeable future.

The name game

Last year, No. 92214’s black livery was replaced by a new lined green livery and it was named Cromwell, after Mr Gregory’s Cromwell Tools company. The GCR’s October 2-5 Autumn Steam Gala featured Cromwell and Oliver Cromwell, the latter being ‘Britannia’ No. 70013. Confusing? Not as much as No. 92214’s previous appellation, the 9F having run with Cock O’ The North nameplates at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway since its 2010 purchase by its previous owner. This, of course, was the name originally – and famously associated with - Gresley P2 2-8-2 No. 2001.

“We’re delighted to be bringing back ‘Evening Star’ for a new generation,’ said Bill Ford, Managing Director of the GCR, “and of course we’re very grateful to Cromwell Tools and the National Railway Museum who have supported the plan.”

The April 18-19 Railways at Work Weekend will also feature No. 6960 Raveningham Hall (visiting from the West Somerset Railway) and GCR-based 2MT No. 78019 (its last gala outing before expiry of its boiler ticket), LMS 8F No. 48624 (its previous non-authentic red colour now replaced by a permanent black livery), ‘Black Five’ No. 45305, LMS 3F No. 47406 and 2MT No. 46521.

Quorn & Woodhouse station will feature no little action. Period vehicles will arrive at the station yard to show how the railways moved freight around the country prior to the age of mass road transportation, while a steam loco will work Quorn sidings adjacent to the vehicles to provide photo opportunities. The station will also have real ales available at the new tin shed 'Shanty Bar' from 12.00 each day.

Easter Vintage Festival

Quorn & Woodhouse station will also feature strongly in the Great Central Railway’s April 3-6 Easter Vintage Festival. The station will host a vintage-style country fayre with steam powered Gallopers and a big wheel, traction engines and classic and vintage vehicles together with trade and craft stalls. The real ale bar will be open along with live music every day.

Locomotives expected in action are 9F No. 92214 (the opportunity to see it before its identity swap later in the month?), ‘Black Five’ No. 45305 and Ivatt 2MT No. 46521. The GCR invites visitors to start their journey at any of the railway’s four stations – Leicester North, Rothley, Quorn or Loughborough.

Rail Ale Roundhouse Barrow Hill

Fuller’s Brewery, UK Railtours and The Barrow Hill Roundhouse have joined forces to stage a remarkable Rail-Ale event sponsored by the Brewery on Thursday May 14. The day is special because a ‘Beerex’ special train will run from London St. Pancras at 0940hrs to Barrow Hill calling at Luton Airport Parkway, Bedford and Kettering.

The train allows passengers around three to four hours at Barrow Hill before returning on their ‘Beerex’.

They said:

Ian Bray Managing Director of Fuller’s beer company said; We are very glad to support this event for yet another year.

Tickets on the ‘Beerex’ are priced at £39.50 (Standard) and £95.00 (First Class) and include admission to the Barrow Hill Beer festival plus a commemorative glass and programme.

The festival runs on May 14 between 6pm and 11pm and between 12 noon to 11pm on 15&16 May. The organisers are hoping for over 250 real ales plus ciders, Perrys and other beers. There will also be live music and train rides. The Campaign for Real Ale is also supporting the event.

Rail.co.uk is under the impression that this event will somehow succeed!

Don’t drink and drive - getting there by rail

Visitors travelling by train should use Chesterfield station for connections to Barrow Hill and there is usually a free bus service to these larger events. Chesterfield is served by trains from across the Midlands and north with East Midlands Trains running direct services from Manchester, Stockport, Sheffield, Derby, Nottingham, Loughborough, Leicester and London St. Pancras.

Cross-Country operates via Chesterfield from Newcastle, York, Doncaster, Sheffield, Bristol and Birmingham.

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