Published: 27th May 2015
Bizarre, but huge fun – a ride in a Model T railcar is one of the attractions at Leighton Buzzard’s Everything Goes event
If it can run, it probably will run at the Leighton Buzzard Railway’s (LBR) July 26 Everything Goes event. There is plenty of choice, the Bedfordshire 2ft gauge line being home to one of the largest locomotive collections in the country.
“We have over 60 locomotives at Leighton Buzzard, of which about 50 are available for use at any one time,” commented LBR chairman, Terry Bendall. “We rarely get the opportunity to get them all going, but on July 26 we are going to have as many working as possible, even if they are only idling in the yard!”
As if steam, diesel, petrol and electric motive power were not enough, how about a Model T railcar – with the opportunity to take a ride in this amazing machine.
The gorgeously bizarre machine is based on a Sandy River and Rangeley Lakes Railway (Maine, USA) Superintendent’s Inspection Car. It was built for Adrian Shooter at the Statfold Barn Railway in 2008 and resides at Adrian’s private Beeches Light Railway. Its visit to Leighton Buzzard is set to include offering short rides at Stonehenge Works – which ensures visitors have to buy an event ticket to ride to the far end terminus from Page’s Park.
A two-train service will operate on LBR’s main line. One carriage set will be worked by steam throughout the day, the other will feature a mixture of diesel, petrol and battery-electric loco haulage. The steam fleet will include Greensand Railway Museum Trust’s Baldwin 4-6-0T WDLR No. 778 and, at the other end of the size scale, the diminutive Baguley 0-4-0T Rishra and Kerr Stuart ‘Wren’ 0-4-0ST Peter Pan.
This could be one of the final opportunities to see the iconic Baldwin Class 10-12-D in action before withdrawal for overhaul. Although special appearances working 2014 Santa trains were expected to represent its swansong a boiler ticket extension has allowed further appearances before it departs to a contractor for the overhaul work.
The date for withdrawal awaits confirmation being dependent on a slot at the contractor, which has to allow sufficient time for the work to be completed in time for No. 778 to return to traffic in 2016 in order to commemorate various anniversaries.
There will be no need to drive to the transport festival. Leighton Buzzard is served by London Midland trains on the Euston to Birmingham and Crewe line with Arriva local bus D1 running regularly from the main line station to LBR’s Page's Park, also serving the nearby canal and town centre.
Leighton Buzzard Railway won its race to raise £50,000 by June 7 which, thanks to a benefactor, was matched £for£ to put £100,000 into the coffers of its new station appeal ( http://www.rail.co.uk/rail-news/2015/lbr-aims-to-double-the-money/ ). Raising the total of £100,000 to add to the £100,000 already in hand meant LBR has been able to give the go-ahead for construction of the much-needed new building to proceed. Work will probably start at the end of October.
Raising this much cash so quickly is impressive, but not the end of the need for donations. “It is a great achievement,” confirmed LBR chairman, Terry Bendall. “We now have enough to put up the new building, but we will still need to raise another £90,000 by the end of the year to complete the fitting out of the interior and community rooms and add exterior details like the platform canopy. We now need to look to the wider community to help us get the job finished.”
Local businesses have contacted the railway with ideas for sponsored events to help the fundraising effort. Typical of the support LBR is receiving is Leighton Buzzard Brewery’s offer of a donation for every barrel of its 'Narrow Gauge Ale' sold.
Companies interested in learning more about how they can help are invited to contact LBR by email (Station@lbngrs.org.uk) or phone (01525 373888). Donations can be made via LBR’s website www.buzzrail.co.uk or to the Leighton Buzzard Narrow Gauge Railway Society Limited, Page’s Park Station, Billington Road, Leighton Buzzard, LU7 4TN.
Special!Following the steam railway at Aviemore hosting a hugely successful ‘Peppa’ event in 2014, the star will be returning to see her Highland friends again in July and she’s bringing her brother George with her this year!
Last year’s event was a sell-out with over 1200 visitors riding on the Strathspey Railway’s vintage trains. This year’s event promises to be bigger with more attractions planned for the 24th and 25th July event.
Last year was Peppa’s first visit to The Strathspey Railway and it proved to be one of the biggest events in 2014 and the year as a whole, was also line’s most successful year, with record numbers travelling between its Aviemore, Boat of Garten and Broomhill Stations.
2015 looks set to be a better year as The Strathspey Railway launches its brand new, high end, dining specials offering Fine Evening Dining, Traditional Sunday Lunch and Light Lunch and Afternoon Teas. The railway will operate steam and vintage diesel trains this year and the prospect of operating to Grantown on Spey is becoming a reality.
They said: Marina Konova, The Strathspey Railway’s Marketing Officer, explained that “Peppa was a real hit with our visitors here last year as she celebrated her special ten year anniversary with us! We just knew that we had to make sure she came back for another visit and this time round her brother George will join us up here in the Highlands too!