Published: 21st August 2015
The post-war World steam speed record holder, LNER ‘A4’. No. 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley is about to steam for the last time before its mandatory 10-yearly overhaul. Details of the farewell weekend on 19th/20th September 2015 have just been released. The engine will be operating at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR) on the following trains:
Saturday 19th September: Grosmont dep. 08:50; Pickering dep. 11:00; Grosmont dep. 12:30; Pickering dep. 14:00; Grosmont dep. 17:16.
Sunday 20th September: Pickering dep. 09:00; Grosmont dep. 11:20; Pickering dep. 13:00; Grosmont dep. 15:35; Pickering dep. 17:05
Special Sir Nigel Gresley (SNG) sales stands will be located at Pickering, Grosmont and on the trains. The stand at Pickering will feature '00' gauge models donated by the late SNG Managing Director Roger Barker while at Grosmont, the stand will feature a large range of second hand items donated to Sir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Trust (SNGLT), the charity that owns the locomotive.
Passengers and members of the SNGLT will be able to purchase a ticket on the trains to experience a footplate ride using the corridor tender connection. These are obviously very limited and will be sold on a first come first served basis. Priority will be given to SNGLT members if demand exceeds supply which is highly likely. All takings will be put towards the expensive overhaul. Don’t forget that you will also need to buy a travel ticket from the NYMR! The railway is offering a 50% discount to SNGLT members but they must show a valid membership card, but the offer does not include family tickets for family or friends members.
The SNGLT 2015 AGM will be held at Pickering Station starting at 13:00 prompt on Sat 19th with the aim of business being completed in time to catch the 13:40 booked arrival of 60007!
The new Borders Line linking Edinburgh with Tweedbank opens in September and will have a series of 18 steam services running on it from Edinburgh Waverley mid-morning using LNER ‘A4’ No. 60009 Union of South Africa. The locomotive’s owner is one John Cameron who has a far reaching railway pedigree in Scotland. Tickets can be bought via Steam Dreams for all 15 services. Be warned though, most of the September dates are already sold out with better availability in October!
Somewhat away from the stamping ground of ‘A4s’ No. 60009 made a surprise visit to the South Devon Railway engineering workshop after developing a fault on a Railtour on August 16th. The locomotive travelled to the South Devon Railways main line connection at Totnes where it ran round its support coach before running on the preserved line. It is thought that this was the first time in 20 years that such a move had been made.
The Branch Line Society is celebrating its Diamond Jubilee this year and has helped raise tens of thousands of pounds for charity organising special trains in conjunction with rail franchises. The latest one was co-organised with Greater Thameslink Railway (GTR) and ran on July 12 from Bedford to Herne Hill and back via many obscure railway locations such as Bedford Cauldwell Road depot and Snow Hill sidings under Lindon near Farringdon. The train raised £9000 for a local charity nominated by a Thameslink employee.
The next special train is being operated in partnership with South West Trains (SWT) using a 5-car Class 158/8+159 DMU and the Railway Benefit Fund (RBF) will be the beneficiary of the train. This charity train will visit Salisbury, Bournemouth and Northam (Southampton) Depos and will also cover a wide variety of unusual routing with a leg stretch and photographic break at the Yeovil Railway Centre.
The RBF is SWT’s nominated charity and there will be a raffle on the train to help raise more funds as will the sale of some mementos of the day. Participants will receive a souvenir ticket, comprehensive tour brochure including a detailed route description, track map and timing sheet to aid their enjoyment. There will be a catering service on this charter along with the opportunity to purchase refreshments at Yeovil.
The train departs London Waterloo just after 8am and calls at Basingstoke 08:45 then branches off via Andover and the Laverstock Curve to Southampton Central and after various rare lines in the area, into Northam Depot and the Southampton Down Goods Loop and Up Docks Branch.
Its off west to Brockenhurst and Bournemouth and into the depot there and to Poole and Weymouth. A short jaunt into Weymouth Jersey Sidings and then its on the GWR route via Maiden Newton and the Yeovil Curve to Yeovil Junction. After a break, the train goes into Salisbury Depot, Andover and to Wimbledon Durnsford Road Staff Halt and Waterloo at 20:29.
Fares start at £65 for staff or BLS members and bookings should be made via Kev Adlam, Fixtures Secretary, Branch Line Society, 53 Kemble Close, Crewe, CW2 6XN. If you do not have an email address please provide a stamped self-addressed envelope with your booking, and a second if an initial acknowledgment of receipt is required. All queries should be directed to Kev Adlam, preferably by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Railway Benefit Fund is the working name of the 'Railway Benevolent Institution' which was founded in 1858 and incorporated by Royal Charter in 1949. This national charity supports current and former railway workers and their families by the relief of short and long term poverty and provision of appropriate and individual support and advice. These traditional help packages will be added to shortly with a range of new services making them the initial place for railway staff to seek assistance from. To achieve this the RBF has to raise £160k a year.
The first seats to be sold on any charter train are the dinning seats and it is the tables for two that top the bill. Tyseley based Vintage Trains has announced that it will be offering more tables for two in Premier Dining starting on August 29th with their ‘Welsh Marches’ excursion pulled by GWR ‘Hall’ No: 4965 Rood Ashton Hall. This departs Tyseley at 09:20 and returns at 20:30 calling at Birmingham Snow Hill and returning via Walsall.
The Welsh Marches line traverses the hills of Central Wales, starting at Newport and running to Shrewsbury via Abergavenny and Hereford where a break is taken before returning via Craven Arms. A very scenic journey especially as the train follows the River Severn via Chepstow as well!
There are many charter trains operating across the UK in September so check out the rail.co.uk charter train listings at http://www.rail.co.uk/charter-train-directory/ to see all that are running.