Mainline & Maritime

Mainline & Maritime

Mainline & Maritime

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21st August

Leighton Buzzard Railway - Grant for armoured Simplex

The Association of Industrial Archaeology (AIA) has awarded a £3,300 grant to Greensand Railway Museum Trust towards restoration of 40hp Armoured Simplex LR2182 built by Motor Rail and Tramcar Company of Bedford (MR461/1917). The AIA Restoration Grant is made specifically towards the cost of replicating the distinctive cupola roof of the WW1 locomotive.

 

15th August

Leighton Buzzard Railway - 50th Anniversary Gala

On the weekend of 30 September and 1 October the Leighton Buzzard Railway will celebrate 50 years since the initial formal meeting held in October 1967 which led to the formation of the preservation society. A special train service will be in operation each day with nine departures from Page’s Park to Stonehenge Works.  The plan is to have ten steam locos in action. Visiting locos include:

1924 Bagnall 0-4-0 WOTO. Kerr Stuart 0-4-0 DIANA built in 1909, and Andrew Barclay 0-4-0 JACK built in 1925 

Leighton Buzzard resident locos in action will include:

De Winton 0-4-0 CHALONER built in 1877, Baguley 0-4-0 RISHRA built in 1921, O&K 0-4-0 P C ALLEN of 1913, O&K 0-6-0 ELF of 1936, O&K 0-6-0 PEDEMOURA of 1924, Baldwin 4-6-0T WDLR No. 778 of 1917, and Andrew Barclay 0-6-0 DOLL of 1919.

In addition to passenger trains there will be demonstration freight trains. These are likely to include the LBR’s log carrying wagons, World War 1 rolling stock and a train of LBR sand carrying skip wagons typical of those that were operate by the sand carrying railway.  The sand train will be hauled by two of the railway’s original Simplex diesel locos. Some freight trains will run the whole length of the line.  Some will run on towards Mundays Hill on a part of the line not normally used.  This extension of the railway is currently part of a bid to restore it to passenger train operational standards. 

In addition to the timetabled service, at the end of the afternoon on Saturday 30 September at approximately 17.00 there will be a parade of working steam and diesel locos at Page’s Park Station.

 

11th August

Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway - JURASSIC to re-enter service

JURASSIC is planned to go back into service to pull its first public passenger trains in more than 30 years on Sunday 17th September 2017, in connection with the “Classic Wheels” event, the Classic Car & Bike Show, at the Skegness Water Leisure Park. The historic loco is planned to steam on the LCLR's tracks adjacent to the Show's venue in the Park, in Walls Lane, Ingoldmells, PE25 1JF. Trains will run from 11.00 to 3.40 pm, with some initial services being operated by one of the LCLR's fleet of historic Motor Rail “Simplex” diesels.

 

10th August

Crossness Engines Trust - Track delivery

The UK's newest 18" gauge railway, the Royal Arsenal Narrow Gauge Railway at the Crossness Engines Trust, took delivery yesterday of sufficient track materials to complete the second leg of the line, and the run round loop at the far end.
 

8th August

Lea Bailey Light Railway - Visiting loco for September Open Weekend

The LBLR's Open Weekend on September 16th & 17th is planned to feature visiting loco Simplex 8540, originally No. 38 in Arnold's fleet at Leighton Buzzard. Also operating will be Lea Bailey residents Simplex 21282, WR8 N7605 ‘Murphy’, Eimco 401 w/no 216 ‘Whistling Pig’and the Eimco 12B rockershovel.
 

Vale of Rheidol Railway - Roaring 20s & 30s Gala details announced

The VoR's September 16th & 17th Gala Weekend has a 1920s & 30s theme, with various displays and additional attractions around the railway. Highlights for enthusiasts include visiting Quarry Hunslet BRITOMART operating shuttle services to Capel Bangor and Aberffrwd, the opportunity to ride up the line in the PWay Department's Permaquip, Quarry Hunslet MARGARET operating "Drive an Engine" duties at Devils Bridge, as well as a two train service and the opportunity to visit the yards and workshops.
 

5th August

Kirklees Light Railway - September Gala details announced

The Friends of the Kirklees Light Railway will be holding their 12th Annual Steam & Diesel Gala Weekend over the 9th and 10th September 2017. This year's theme is "Giants on the Line" and will feature both ends of the 15" gauge spectrum. Visiting from the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway will be No.8 HURRICANE and No.9 WINSTON CHURCHILL. No event with the word Giant in the title would be complete without one of the Greenly / Bassett Lowke "Little Giant" locomotives being present. The KLR have gone one better and there will be two! Visiting from the Rhyl Miniature and Ravenglass and Eskdale Railways will be PRINCE EDWARD OF WALES and SYNOLDA.
 
A new attraction this year will see Denby Dale Lions holding a "miniature" Beer Festival which will be held at Clayton West station. Barnsley Model Railway Club will be bringing some of their layouts which will be on display in the workshop building and there will be a display of classic, vintage and interesting vehicles at Clayton West. Trains will be running every 30 minutes from 09:30 featuring all the visiting engines and all available members of the KLR home fleet. The event will be brought to a close as is tradition on Sunday evening with the 17:00 "Shelley or Bust" which will be hauled by as many locomotives as possible.
 

3rd August

Douglas Bay Horse Tramway - Transport Festival Highlights

The Douglas Bay Horse Tramway enjoyed a busy period during this year's Manx Heritage Transport Festival. Highlights included the use of double deck car No.18 being worked in service with a pair of horses. Toastrack No.42 and saloon No.1 were also used in service. A special intensive timetable was in operation during the five-day festival which took place between the 26th and 30th July, across the Island's heritage transport network. An open evening at Summerhill Stables was held on Wednesday 26th July, while an evening service was in operation on the tramway.

 

19th July

Narrow Gauge Railway Museum - JUBILEE 1897 on the move again

JUBILEE 1897, on long term loan to the NGRM from Welsh Slate Ltd, successors to the original Penrhyn Quarry owners, is on the move again. The locomotive had been loaned on to the formative Penrhyn Quarry Railway for restoration to working order, but recent developments at that site have forced another move. With the agreement of all parties, the partially dismantled locomotive is to move to the Vale of Rheidol Railway as soon as possible.

 

Vale of Rheidol Railway - Garratt arrives

NG G13 Beyer Garratt locomotive No. 60 DRAKENSBERG has arrived at the Vale of Rheidol Railway. The locomotive is privately owned but is to be on loan to the railway for a prolonged period of time. After some restoration work, No60 will be available to bolster the operational fleet if required, offering extended service periods for the current locomotives. Vale of Rheidol is rightly proud of the reliability of its steam engines and No 60 will only enhance this offering new opportunities. No 60 will not be replacing the iconic Rheidol tanks but just spreading the load on the existing fleet.

 

Douglas Bay Horse Tramway - Funding secured for promenade rebuilding

Tynwald has approved funding for the reconstruction of Douglas Promenade - including the tramway along the full length of Douglas Seafront. The Department of Infrastructure asked Tynwald members to approve a £20.73 million scheme featuring twin horse tram tracks in the centre of the road from Derby Castle to Castle Mona Avenue, before switching to a single track on the seaward side of the road terminating at Peveril Square, near the Sea Terminal. A passing loop is included on Harris Promenade, adjacent to the War Memorial.

 

14th July

South Tynedale Railway - Royal opening on 24th July

The long-awaited unveiling of the South Tynedale Railway’s transformational changes brought about by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, will take place at a private event on the 24th July in two parts.

In the afternoon at an official engagement HRH The Duke of GloucesterKG GCVO will be opening the Alston facilities. The transformation includes the unveiling of the fully accessible Heritage Engineering Workshop.

In the morning, Kathryn Tickell, OBE, Deputy Lieutenant is representing Lord Lieutenant, Her Grace the Duchess of Northumberland at the Slaggyford opening. Although there is still track work to complete, Ms Tickell will tour the Slaggyford facilities and open them at an event attended by specially invited guests. 

 

12th July

Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway - Visitors announced for Galas

The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway is preparing to welcome not one but two visiting locomotives later this summer - Bagnall 0-6-2T steam locomotive SUPERB, normally resident on the Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway, and diesel-hydraulic 0-6-0 BADGER, owned by the Statfold Barn Railway.

SUPERB, built in 1940 under works no 2624 for the Bowaters Paper Mills at Sittingbourne, will be a star attraction at the W&LLR’s annual Steam Gala on 1st-3rd September. The loco will be working passenger trains alongside demonstration workings while at some point during the weekend it will be posed with W&LLR resident, Kerr Stuart 0-6-2T JOAN of 1927. The Bagnall design to which SUPERB was built was evolved directly from the Kerr Stuart class of which JOAN is a member. There will also be the opportunity for SUPERB to be reunited with Bowaters stablemate MONARCH, which is a resident of the W&LLR’s Welshpool display shed. The line also owns bogie freight wagons originally obtained from the Bowaters line.

BADGER, built by Hudswell Clarke in 1971 to work at the Shotton Steelworks on Deeside, will be the first visiting locomotive to attend the annual Diesel Day on 23rd September. 

 

8th July

Lynton & Barnstaple Railway - LYN steams!

Newbuild replica Baldin LYN has moved under its own power today at the workshops of Alan Keef Ltd, Ross-on-Wye.

 

30th June

Corris Railway - New cylinders cast for No. 10

Work on the construction of Corris Railway steam locomotive number 10 has taken another significant step forward with the casting of the cylinders at Barr and Grosvenor Wolverhampton where proof machining will also take place. Once the work is complete they will be moved to the workshops of Alan Keef Ltd where the locomotive is under construction. At Keef’s work towards completion of a rolling chassis is progressing with crank pins fitted to the driving wheels and the driving wheels mounted on their axles. 

29th June

Blists Hill Victorian Town - SLR 85 on display

Hunslet 2-6-2T locomotive No. 85, built in 1954 for service in Sierra Leone and purchased from a scrap dealer by the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway (W&LLR) in 1975, is a feature exhibit in the summer-long festival of ‘Fire, Furnace and Steam’ at Blists Hill Victorian Town, one of the ten Ironbridge Gorge Museums in Shropshire. The loco will be on display at Blists Hill Victorian Town until Friday 25th August.

 

26th June

Vale of Rheidol Railway - Wheels manufactured for cliff railway

The VoR has completed the manufacture of four complete axles for the nearby Aberystwyth Cliff Railway, in its workshop facilities at Aberystwyth.

 

23rd June

Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway - Museum reopens following renovation

The refurbished museum at Ravenglass reopens tomorrow, 24th June, following its extensive refurbishment.

 

21st June

Crossness Pumping Station - Railway to open in two years

Since its inception in 1860 Crossness Pumping Station has been supported by rail transport and it is hoped that within the next two years another, a new line of 18” gauge will be achieved. This time, the first to transport passengers. Planning permission has been granted by The London Borough of Bexley in conjunction with the approval of site owners Thames Water Plc.

A journey on the new line will start at the southern station to be located behind the Thames Water Plc Inlet Pumping Station, take in a small bend to the East before running alongside the newly built John Ridley Path, a tribute to the respected founder member of the Crossness Engines Trust. A pleasant ride of some 700 metres to the Northern station, sited just below the Beam Engine House.

The plan is to have the last remaining narrow gauge steam locomotive from the Royal Arsenal Railway, Avonside Eng. Co. WOOLWICH No.1748 of 1916 in steam, with restored carriages from the Bicton Woodland Railway, Devon, which are built on the now iconic and very rare frame/bogies of the original RAR rolling stock by Cravens in 1913.

Leighton Buzzard Railway - Extension plan announced

In the 50th anniversary year of the society the LBR is taking the first step to extend back towards the end of the main line at Double Arches. Like many narrow gauge railways, the Leighton Buzzard Railway served a number of quarries along its route. While as an industrial line there was never a station to define the terminus, the end of the main running line has nevertheless always been recognized as being at the point where the line crossed Eastern Way and entered the main quarry itself at a location known locally as Double Arches. Continuing sand extraction at the quarries there means that Double Arches is not yet accessible, but the opportunity now exists to extend the line beyond Stonehenge by nearly three-quarters of a mile, past Mundays Hill, within striking distance of that eventual goal. As well as driving the railway back towards its original ‘terminus’, this extension in open countryside will offset the effect of the new housing developments proposed elsewhere along the line. The new line will also feature a section of line with a gradient of 1:27 providing new opportunities to enjoy the sight and sound of locomotives working hard, and also a section of unique British narrow gauge double track. The LBR has therefore announced the launching of an appeal for £150,000 to meet the projected costs of this extension and associated works at Stonehenge, the initial target is for £40,000 by the end of September to secure track materials.

 

10th June

Southwold Railway - Track laid into shed - more required!

SR
 
Recently laid track into the new shed at the Southwold Railway. The railway is looking for more track of 35 to 50lbs weight, and also points that are suitable for regauging. Photo by Alan Frewin.
 

7th June

Moseley Railway Trust - New enthusiast event in October

Following on from the success of the Stanhope 100 Gala last month, the Moseley Railway Trust has announced a second enthusiast event for the weekend of 7th / 8th October. The "Diesel Delights" event will see many of the Trust’s collection of internal combustion locos in action. Some will haul passenger trains – in some cases, these will be the first-ever passenger working for locos over fifty years old! Looking further ahead, "Tracks to the Trenches III" will be held over the weekend of July 13th-15th 2018.
 

19th May

Douglas Bay Horse Tramway - Limited service to resume

The Douglas Bay Horse Tramway will resume a limited service from Wednesday 24 May 2017. The decision has been taken by Isle of Man Railways, with the advice of Ray Cox of Milan Vets. Tram services were temporarily suspended on 9 May after a number of the horses were found to be experiencing a respiratory issue. The reduced service will remain in place for approximately one week. Additional information will be provided once a further assessment of the horses has taken place.
 

18th May

Lynton & Barnstaple Railway - More land purchased

The L&BR Trust has announced that it has purchased another significant section of L&B trackbed plus several fields. The section purchased adjoins land already in the Trust's ownership at Rowley Moor, north of Blackmoor Gate, and is therefore crucial to the L&B's current extension plans.

10th May

Douglas Bay Horse Tramway - Infection halts services

Isle of Man Railways, with the advice of Ray Cox of Milan Vets, have made the decision to temporarily cease all horse tram operations for approximately ten days. The decision has been taken after a number of the tram horses were found to be experiencing a respiratory issue. The infection is relatively common among horses and it is difficult to determine where it has originated. It is not fatal to horses, but it can be transmitted between them. Action to contain the infection and to manage the recovery of the affected horses will be taken in line with veterinary advice.

 

28th April

Amerton Railway - Gala Visitors announced

The line up for this year’s Steam Gala on 24/25 June 2017 includes visiting engines Peckett LIASSIC and Avonside MARCHLYN from Statfold, together with home based locos Bagnall ISABEL and Hunslet JENNIE. All locos will be running an intensive service of passenger and goods trains on the one mile line from 11am till 5pm. Also available will be Shed and Works tours, the Waterhouses Signal Box will be available for viewing, 16mm live steam, railway book stall, live steam models and visiting road steam.

 

27th April

Talyllyn Railway - 'Give It A Go' Weekend

The Talyllyn Railway is inviting people to ‘Give It A Go’ over the weekend of 3rd and 4th June 2017. When there will be the chance to find out what it is like to volunteer on the World’s First Preserved Railway. During the two days there will be the chance to find out what is involved in all the roles including what training is required, as well as look behind the scenes, meet with other volunteers and find out what it’s like to work on Railway. To take part all people have to do is to contact the volunteer co-ordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

21st April

Crossness Engines Trust - Planning permission obtained for new narrow gauge line

Planning permission has been granted by the London Borough of Bexley for "the installation of a Narrow Gauge Railway and modifications to an existing building for use as depot facilities for the railway". Ahead is a major fundraising challenge to cover the purchase of track materials including 1400 metres of rail, 600 timber sleepers, drive screws, fishplates, and the track bed preparation and ballast, before the track laying can commence, as well as the recruitment of able volunteers for the challenging task of constructing a new build 18 inch narrow gauge railway, so close to the track of the iconic Royal Arsenal Railway.

 

13th April

Ffestiniog Railway - PALMERSTON to visit Liverpool

PALMERSTON will be in steam at Albert Dock, Liverpool as part of the annual "Steam on the Dock" event on May 6th /  7th. The locomotive's stay will be an extended one, as it will be in steam outside the Maritime Museum offering free rides daily from 6th-14th May.

 

9th April

Corris Railway - Second passenger train at Gala

On the Annual Gala Day, May 28th, there will be a second “passenger train” in action as for payment of a supplementary fare those who wish will be able to travel in a brake van. This will recreate something of the days between 1930 when passenger services ended and the closure of the Corris in 1948. In that era quite a number of people travelled in the guards van of the trains with varying levels of “permission” to do so. For space reasons this will only be available for up to six people to sample the journey in this way.  A timetable of operations for the Gala day will be found on the Corris website www.corris.co.uk

 

2nd April

Bala Lake Railway - HLF Grant for carriage shed

The staff and volunteers at the BLR are celebrating the award of £38,500 by the Heritage Lottery Fund to extend and improve significantly the existing rolling stock accommodation at Llanuwchllyn Station. This is to cope with the current increasing demand and to protect the improved rolling stock which will accompany their ongoing plans for the new station in Bala. Apart from larger and more secure accommodation for the rolling stock, the extended building will provide a much improved visitor experience through disabled access, as well as better interpretation of the heritage exhibits. A revised track layout, which will allow access from each end of the yard, will also provide better operational flexibility, which will be particularly useful during the increasingly popular programme of Gala events held each year.

 

19th March

Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway - Milestone season begins

The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway is looking forward to opening what will be a milestone season on Saturday 1st April, with the first special event of the year aimed especially at local people. The 2017 season will be the 54th in which the railway has been operated almost entirely by volunteers, overtaking the 53 years – 1903 to 1956 – that it was run commercially by the line’s three previous owners the Cambrian Railway, Great Western Railway and British Railways.

A number of celebrations are planned throughout the 2017 season, but staff and volunteers on the line feel that this first event should recognise the role the community played in building and operating the railway in its first half century. Over the opening weekend, anyone showing that they live in an SY21 postcode will be able to take a return trip on the line for just 70p, or 14 shillings in old money. Why 14 shillings? That is what today’s usual return fare of £13.50 would have been equivalent to in 1963, the year that the Llanfair Line reopened as a heritage railway.

 

 

15th March

Corris Railway - Progress on No. 10

Work on Corris number 10 is underway at the Alan Keef workshops and is progressing as fund-raising allows. Pending delivery from South Africa of the steel tyres for the driving wheels work has been carried out on the driving wheel centres, drilling them ready for the crank pins to be fitted. Work is also underway by volunteers, working in conjunction with Keef’s, on the trailing pony truck for the 0-4-2 saddle tank engine. In addition patterns and core boxes to allow casting of the cylinders have been delivered to a foundry, for costing and production. The completed frames are at Alan Keef’s whilst the boiler for the new loco can be seen at Maespoeth Junction on days when the Corris is operating passenger services. 

Funds for the construction of Number 10 are being raised by sales of goods and by donations which can be made online via www.corris.co.uk or by post to Peter Guest, 38 Underwood Close, Callow Hill, Redditch, Worcs, B97 5YS

 

9th March

Vale of Rheidol Railway - VoR to complete WHHR Baldwin

The Welsh Highland Heritage Railway has contracted the Vale of Rheidol Railway to complete the restoration of Baldwin 794 for the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway. The finished loco will be outshopped as WHR 590, the identity of the Baldwin that was purchased by Colonel Stephens for use on the original WHR in the 1920s, which was cut up in 1942.

 

7th March

Talyllyn Railway - Record breaking February half term

The Talyllyn Railway had a record breaking February half term week, with passenger figures 33% up on last year, despite the bad weather caused by Storm Doris during the week.

 

5th March

Bala Lake Railway - GEORGE B returns to service

Newly-restored Quarry Hunslet GEORGE B operated a photo charter on 7th February, her first revenue earning activity for over half a century. The loco is scheduled to re-enter passenger traffic on 22nd April.

 

3rd March

Lynton & Barnstaple Railway - Property sold (and bought)

The L&B Trust has sold the property "Fairview", having separated and retained the trackbed that was attached to the property's land, and has purchased the nearby "Ivy Cottage", which similarly includes a section of the old trackbed at the site of Parracombe Halt. Once the trackbed is separated from the main property the latter will also be sold on.

 

Royal Arsenal Narrow Gauge Railway - WOOLWICH Viewing Day

The Royal Arsenal Narrow Gauge Railway team restoring ex-RAR loco WOOLWICH at the Crossness Engines site have announced that an Open Day to view progress on the restoration will be held on 30th April from 1100 to 1600.

 

25th February

Bursledon Brickworks - New coach to enter traffic in 2017

A Hudson coach from Devon has been loaned to the Hampshire Narrow Gauge Railway Trust by its owner, and is expected to be in use on the running line at Bursledon Brickworks this summer. It is slightly shorter than the line's existing coach, but is covered and also has a balcony.

 

Lea Bailey Light Railway - Compressed Air Gala announced

A Compressed Air gala will be held at Lea Bailey on 13th and 14th May. This will be a unique opportunity to see the two operational compressed air locos in the UK working together, with ISSING SID visiting from Statfold, and residents Eimco 401 loco and the 12B rocker shovel working together with demonstrations of a compressed air Holman Silver 3 rock drill. There will also be an opportunity to drive the Simplex or WR8 locos on "Driver For A Fiver".

 

8th February

Corris Railway - Overall roof appeal launched

The Corris Railway has launched an appeal for £300,000 to build a new station at the Corris end of the line. The new station, whilst not being an exact replica of the original, will include an overall roof in the distinctive style of the original. The most eye-catching change to the original design will be the use of a traverser to facilitate the run round loop, rather than the conventional headshunt and points, thus saving space for visitors' cars.

 

7th February

Apedale Valley Light Railway - DIANA is first confirmed Gala visitor

The first confirmed visitor to the AVLR's Kerr, Stuart Gala on May 13th / 14th is DIANA, normally resident on the Bala Lake Railway. The Kerr, Stuart theme for the Gala is to celebrate the centenary of the line's resident KS, STANHOPE.

 

1st February

Ffestiniog Railway - PALMERSTON to visit King's Cross

The latest FR locomotive to visit a London mainline station, PALMERSTON will be rolled into King’s Cross Station at 0100 on Saturday February 18th, and will be on display in the ticket hall until Sunday February 26th.

 

31st January

Bressingham - GWYNEDD to return at April Gala

Quarry Hunslet GWYNEDD, and standard gauge 'Terrier' MARTELLO, are both due to return to steam at Bressingham's Steam Gala over the early May Bank Holiday Weekend (April 29th - May 1st). There will also be a number of visiting locos on the 2ft gauge line, although these are still to be confirmed at the time of writing. In addition to the railway attractions, the weekend will also feature a Traction Engine Rally.

 

27th January

Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway - PREMIER progress

The project to restore PREMIER to 'as-built' condition has taken a major leap forward with the separation of the boiler from the inner firebox and the start of work on constructing the new boiler.

 

24th January

Corris Railway - Gala Day announced

Following the success of its Gala Day in 2016 the Corris Railway will be hosting its 2017 event on Sunday May 28th. The day will feature a variety of train formations working between Corris station and Maespoeth Junction (please note that it is only possible to start journeys at Corris) including steam and diesel haulage and at least one demonstration gravity train running down from Corris to the Junction. The locomotive and carriage sheds will be open at Maespoeth  Junction where amongst other things visitors will be able to view work on the construction of the next two carriages being constructed for the revival of the Railway. 

Following work at Maespoeth to convert carriage number 20 to a brake composite vehicle passenger trains at the Gala and in 2017 generally will be able to load up to a trio of carriages. To accommodate this and to allow locomotives to head trains up the Dulas Valley the platform at Corris has been extended as the next stage in the project to build a new station which will evoke the atmosphere of the original including an overall roof.

 

17th January

Douglas Bay Horse Tramway - Tynwald vote to retain full length of tramway

As part of a Tynwald (Manx Parliament) debate on the future of Douglas Promenade, an amendment was proposed to retain a single track for the Horse Tramway between the War Memorial and Sea Terminal, in addition to the previously proposed double track between Broadway and Summerhill. The amendment was narrowly approved by 17 votes to 14. The scheme will need to go back to Tynwald for approval of funding once the design process has been completed.

 

9th January

Moseley Railway Trust - Grant award for Motor Rail restoration

The Moseley Railway Trust has been awarded a PRISM grant of £13,000 from Arts Council England, to fund the restoration of 40hp Motor Rail No. 1320 of 1918. The locomotive is to be restored to the condition in which it spent most of its life, working in a Hertfordshire gravel quarry, from where it entered preservation in 1978.

 

6th January

Vale of Rheidol Railway - Grant award for Cattle Van restoration

Following its return to the VoR in 2014 from the Ffestiniog Railway, much work has been carried out on the restoration of Cattle Van 38089. The team working on the project are delighted with the news that the Big Lottery Fund has now awarded them a £5000 grant to complete the project.

 

31st December

Bala Lake Railway - GEORGE B return to steam date announced

Make a note in your diary now - GEORGE B will be returning to steam on the Bala Lake Railway on April 22nd.

 

24th December

Leighton Buzzard Railway - Help needed to complete unique WW1 loco for its 100th birthday

Restoration of World War One 40hp Armoured Simplex LR2182 (Motor Rail No. 461/1917) has reached an advanced stage but Greensand Railway Museum Trust, the registered charity undertaking the work, fears progress will falter for lack of money – possibly as little as £5,000 - before this war veteran reaches its 100th anniversary in 2017. Rather than taking the easy, and much cheaper, option of installing a modern diesel engine, GRMT was determined this should be a proper restoration utilising the seized original 40hp Dorman 4JO 4-cylinder petrol engine. Unused for over 50 years, the engine was sent to a specialist contractor for stripping, assessment and repair.  Work undertaken included stitch welding to deal with cracks in the cylinder block, crankcase and manifold, production of four new pistons and eight new valves and guides, machining the cylinder block and regrinding the crankshaft bearings.  The extensive repairs were so costly there was no cash left to contract reassembly of the engine.  Fortunately, a volunteer offered to undertake this taskA drawing for the iconic cupola (roof) has been prepared but with no more money in the kitty to produce the new steelwork the Trust is unable to invite contractors to tender for the work.  New drive chains and other small components also need to be purchased.

19th December

Talyllyn Railway - Re-enactment climax to 150th Anniversary celebrations

On Friday 16 December 2016 the Talyllyn Railway’s 150th Anniversary celebrations officially ended with a re-enactment of the first public passenger train which ran in December 1866. Composed of the same locomotive, No.2 DOLGOCH, and carriages that are believed to have made up the original train, it ran between Tywyn Wharf and Abergynolwyn.

 

16th December

Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway - Standard gauge wagon arrives

The W&LLR is now the proud owner of a former Great Western Railway standard gauge five-plank open wagon. The National Railway Museum has made this vehicle available as part of a rolling stock collections review. The railway intends to put the wagon on display at Welshpool Raven Square station to demonstrate the transhipment of goods that took place between the railway and the main line in pre-preservation days.

 

10th December

Snowdon Mountain Railway - Visiting loco in 2017

Word has reached us that the SMR will be hosting a visiting locomotive from the Brienzer Rothorn Bahn in the 2017 season. More to follow methinks...

 

5th December

Golden Valley Light Railway - Second coach acquired from Ffestiniog

The GVLR has taken delivery of its second coach from the Ffestiniog Railway. No. 118, the numerical predecessor of the previously acquired 119, is another of the 1970s era newbuilds. Work continues on the overhaul of 119 prior to its entry into GVLR service.

 

29th November

Lea Bailey Light Railway - Compressed Air Gala announced

In what is thought to be a first for UK preservation, this line has announced a Compressed Air Gala, to be held over the weekend of May 13th / 14th, where trains will be hauled by recently restored resident Eimco 401-216 and ISSING SID, visiting from Statfold Barn. The line's compressed air powered Eimco 12B rocker shovel will also be demonstrating its capabilities, as will a number of compressed air powered rock drills.

 

Lynton & Barnstaple Railway - Wistlandpound trackbed clearance

The L&B's first major work weekend this winter saw a major trackbed clearance of the cutting at Wistlandpound between bridges 53 and 54, in readiness for the planned southern extension.

 

20th November

Douglas Horse Tramway - Passenger numbers increase

In response to a recent question at this month's sitting of Tynwald (the parliament of the Isle of Man) the Minister for Infrastructure, Mr Ray Harmer MHK, revealed that passenger numbers had increased by 42.7% ( 69,542 were carried in 2016 compared to 48,722 in 2015). In addition revenue was up by 44% (an increase of £30,000) which has helped to slash the operating subsidy. 

The 2016 started slightly earlier than previous seasons have done in the recent past and was also extended beyond mid-September, with the final day of operation being 30th October. However the tramway was brought into line with the Isle of Man Railway and Manx Electric Railway in that services did not operate every days of the week during the 'shoulder season'. The 2017 season will begin on 8th April.

 

14th November

Apedale Valley Light Railway - Grant award for coach overhaul

The Moseley Railway Trust has announced that they are the recipients of a grant from the Co-Op Community Fund to overhaul the coach acquired last year from the Ffestiniog Railway for future use on the Apedale Valley Light Railway.

 

13th November

Penrhyn Railway - JUBILEE comes home

The period of operation for the 2017 season has been announced as 8 April to 5 November. During early and late season tram operation will not be daily, but the exact running dates within this period have not been announced. On 9th November, JUBILEE 1897 was removed from its confinement at the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum at Tywyn, for transport to the Penrhyn Railway, Bethesda, where restoration to working order is planned.

 

11th November

Douglas Horse Tramway - 2017 Season announced

The period of operation for the 2017 season has been announced as 8 April to 5 November. During early and late season tram operation will not be daily, but the exact running dates within this period have not been announced.

 

8th November

Douglas Horse Tramway - Tram disposals

The auction of "surplus" trams took place as planned on August 27th, and realised the following:

No.28 (Winter Saloon) - £2,800
No.33 (Sunshade) - £1,200
No.34 (Sunshade) - £1,300
No.37 (Sunshade) - £1,100
No.39 (Toastrack) - £1,800
No.40 (Toastrack) - £1,000

It remains to be seen how (or if) the sale requirement for the buyers to be 'committed to their preservation' will be enforced... However, it is reported that all the trams will be remaining on the island.

 

3rd November

Bala Lake Railway - Solar powered signals

The home and loop semaphore signals at Llanuwchllyn have been fitted with lighting. However, rather than laying lengths of cable, the installations are solar powered, and come on automatically at dusk.

 

31st October

Talyllyn Railway - Bishop blesses locomotive

On Sunday 30 October 2016 the Bishop of Bangor, the Rt. Revd. Andrew John, formally named the Talyllyn Railway's latest Diesel locomotive, No.12, ST CADFAN, at Tywyn Wharf station. The name was chosen to commemorate St Cadfan who established a Christian community in Tywyn 1500 years ago, and the naming ceremony was part of the celebrations taking place this year to mark the event.

No.12 is a Baguley-Drewry four-wheel diesel shunter which will be used for engineering trains. Built in 1983 it was part of a class of seven diesels used on the 2 ft 6 in gauge railway at Trecwn. Upon the closure of the depot three of the class were purchased by a consortium of Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society members in 2008, and brought to Tywyn where they remained in storage at Tywyn Wharf station. Ownership of the locomotives was eventually transferred to the railway, and two of the locomotives were sent to Alan Keef Ltd’s works near Ross-on-Wye for re-gauging to the Talyllyn’s 2 ft 3 in gauge. The third locomotive is being used for spares.

ST CADFAN has been repainted in Indian Red livery similar to that currently carried by the Talyllyn's two original steam locomotives TALYLLYN and DOLGOCH. It is planned that the other locomotive will also be repainted and named TRECWN in due course.

 

29th October

Leighton Buzzard Railway - Station building opened

The LBR's new station building at Page's Park was officially opened today by Society Vice President Alan Moore CBE. Over £250,000 of the £357,491.11 total cost has been raised from within the Railway’s own 430 members and supporters. The balance has come from housing developer contributions to improve local infrastructure, in this case the inclusion of a function room to provide a venue for community groups to use. 

 

26th September

Leighton Buzzard Railway - Diplomatic launch for PEDEMOURA

Newly restored PEDEMOURA was officially returned to service at the Leighton Buzzard Railway on Saturday 24th September when Sr Jose Galaz, Attache for Social Affairs and Transport at the Portuguese Embassy in London unveiled her nameplate and joined many of those who have worked on her restoration for a trip down the line.

 

20th September

Vale of Rheidol Railway - No. 7 comes together

Swindon based Hatch Heritage & Steam Engineers have recently manufactured and delivered a new fireboxfor No. 7 OWAIN GLYNDWR. This follows the successful rewheeling of the locomotive in August.

 

19th September

Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway - Gala details

The SKLR's End of Season Gala this weekend will see a frequent service of passenger and freight trains operating from 1100, with LEADER, MELIOR and SUPERB in steam.

 

14th September

Poppleton Railway Nursery - Birthday celebrations

On Saturday 10 September the Nursery celebrated the 75 years since the Poppleton Railway Nursery was first located in Poppleton. City of York Lord Mayor Dave Taylor, accompanied by the Lady Mayoress and Sheriff Jonathan Tyler and the Sheriff's Lady, cut the celebratory cake. The cake was baked by the Nursery's chair Jo Sullivan-Jones. The Mayor and party toured the site using the Nursery's narrow gauge railway. 

 

12th September

Hampshire Narrow Gauge Railway Trust - Trains, Trains, Trains!

The Trust will be operating every locomotive it can muster for the Railway Day at Bursledon Brickworks on 25th September. There will be passenger trains on the mainline, demonstrations on the mineral line, including the Country Brickworks exhibit. A special feature will be the official launch of the Hibberd 'Planet' Type 39 diesel locomotive No. 3787 of 1956, that has been returned to operation for the first time since the 'Durley fire' in 1988. HNGRT Trustee, Phil Mason, has kindly made the engine available on loan to the Railway Trust. Steam saddle tank Wendy will be on site but unfortunately not likely to be in steam. The miniature railway will also be making a welcome return to operation after being out of action for 9 months.

 

Lea Bailey Light Railway - Eimco runs

Compressed air locomotive Eimco 401 made its first runs on Sunday 11th September, in preparation for a starring role at the LBLR's Open Weekend next weekend.

 

North Gloucestershire Railway - Diesel Gala

A late addition to running dates is the GWR Diesel Gala on Saturday 8 October and Sunday 9 October, which the narrow gauge will be supporting. Both the Simplex and Hunslet will be operating, trains may be doubleheaded. The Lister will be running in the loco yard and it may be possible to visit the storage 'garage' to see two locos not normally on view to the public.

 

5th September

Lappa Valley Railway - Winter Opening

The Lappa Valley Railway will be opening on weekends over the winter period for the first time. Reduced fares will be charged.

 

25th August

Douglas Horse Tramway - Stables for sale

Douglas Borough Council as owner has instructed local commercial property agent Chapman & Co to sell the Summer Hill Stables site. Described as a 'prime development opportunity', it includes the 3 cottages which front the original 1877 stables building. Alternative stabling facilities for the 2017 season are planned to be constructed at Strathallan Depot over the winter months.

 

18th August

Lynton & Barnstaple Railway - South African wagons arrive

The two wagons being imported from South Africa, a DZ open wagon and a Y hopper, were unloaded at Woody Bay yesterday. Advantage was taken of a crane being on site to remove items of unrestored rolling stock to offsite storage.

 

14th August

Douglas Horse Tramway - Six surplus tramcars for sale

Douglas Borough Council has offered six surplus tramcars for sale. This move is in line with Tynwald's decision that a maximum of 11 cars need to be retained to operate the future service. The trams for sale are understood to be: Winter Saloon No.28, 'Sunshades' No.33, No.34 and No.37, and 'Toastracks' No.38 and No.39. The six will be offered for sale by auction on 27th August. Some consolation to enthusiasts is the statement that bidders will have to demonstrate a viable conservation plan for the tramcars before the sale will be completed.

 

13th August

Alan Keef - Steam-Up 2016 confirmed

The Annual Open Day at Alan Keef returns on 17th September, having had a "year off" in 2015. Residents WOTO and PETER PAN will be in service. The L&B's 762 LYN, Corris FALCON, and the Dalmunzie set will be on display in the works. The event will coincide with the Open Weekend at the Lea Bailey Light Railway and Gala Weekend at the Perrygrove Railway, to make for an interesting and hopefully enjoyable weekend in the forest for NG afficionados.

 

10th August

Welsh Highland Railway - Caernarfon Station construction work to start

Work is due to start this winter on the new Welsh Highland Railway station in Caernarfon for completion in time for the start of the 2018 season. The new £2.2m station will form a key part of the £16m Waterfront Development Project, led by Gwynedd County Council, to give a major boost to this historic area. The development makes use of land already occupied by the railway's temporary station buildings and car park. Work will begin in November when contractors move in to relocate a large sewer which runs under the site. Construction of the new station is scheduled to begin in March 2017 for completion in Spring 2018.

 

7th August

Bala Lake Railway - Quarry Hunslet news...!

GEORGE B passed the hydraulic boiler exam in mid July, and reassembly is continuing. VELINHELI will be visiting from Launceston for the August Bank Holiday Gala, as will Statfold's KING OF THE SCARLETS, which will be on static display.

 

3rd August

Leighton Buzzard Railway - WOTO on holiday

Patrick Keef's popular steam locomotive, "Woto" will be spending August at Leighton Buzzard, and is scheduled to haul passenger trains on most of the operating days in August.

28th July

Leighton Buzzard Railway - New Page's Park station building opened

The new station building at Page's Park was officially handed over to the Railway on 5th July. After some time fitting out, and testing new systems and procedures, it was ready for the public in time for the Comic Supeheroes event on 23rd-24th July and the school summer holidays.

 

26th July

Lynton & Barnstaple Railway - More wagons en route from South Africa

Through the L&BR's connections with South Africa's Sandstone Heritage Trust, another two wagons have been acquired and are currently en route to the UK, along with a variety of spare parts.

 

23rd July

Vale of Rheidol Railway - Two VoR locos to star at Warley Model Railway Show

It has been confirmed that two of the VoR's locos, 7 OWAIN GLYNDWR and 1213 PRINCE OF WALES, will be on display at the Warley Model Railway Show at Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre on 26th and 27th November 2016. This will be the first time any VoR locos have left Wales since PRINCE OF WALES was on display at the National Railway Museum in 1982-3.

 

20th July

Douglas Horse Tramway - Tynwald approves two more years

The Isle of Man's Government, Tynwald, has voted to approve two additional years of operation of the Douglas Horse Tramway, by the island's Department of Infrastructure (Public Transport Division), until the end of the 2018 season. The approval includes an amendment that the relaying of a line for the tramway from Derby Castle to the Sea Terminal be incorporated into the Douglas Promenade highway scheme, thereby securing the route of the tramway.

 

11th July

Thorpe Light Railway - Steam returns to Teesdale

Replica Baldwin 0-4-0 + tender "Soony" is visiting the 15" gauge Thorpe Light Railway near Barnard Castle, Co. Durham from its Gloucestershire home. It will haul trains this Sunday July 17th 12-4 pm and on Sunday August 21st.

 

8th July

Douglas Horse Tramway - Proposals for continued operation published

The Isle of Man Government's Department of Infrastructure has published "Proposals Regarding the Future Operation Of Douglas Bay Horse Tramway", which presents eight recommendations for the future.  Tynwald approval is being sought on 19th July.

 

21st June

Leighton Buzzard Railway - PEDEMOURA steams again!

PEDEMOURA hauled trains for the first time in preservation on Monday 20th June. This was the first time it had hauled anything since the colliery in Portugal closed in the mid-sixties. It languished for a while at Knebworth in the 1970s and then went to the Welsh Highland at Gelert's Farm where some restoration work was done. It was bought by a consortium of Leighton Buzzard members in 2004. It did clearance tests on Sunday night, then on Monday did a return trip to Leedon and a round trip to Stonehenge, then a light engine run to Stonehenge and back.

 

16th June

Brymbo Mineral Railway - First loco for new line

This new line, which is planning to develop a 2ft gauge system around the former Brymbo Steel Works site as part of the Brymbo Heritage Project, has taken delivery of its first loco, a Motor Rail. For reasons best known to its owners, the identity of this loco is going to cause much confusion to future railway historians, as not only has the worksplate been changed, but also the works number stamped on key components.

 

Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway - Gala visitor arrives

CHEVALLIER, an 0-6-2T steam locomotive built by Manning Wardle & Co, Leeds, in 1915, will be the star attraction at the Gala, which this year is a three-day event being held from 2nd-4th September. The locomotive has twice before visited the line to take part in the Gala, in 1991 and 2010. The loco was built originally for a Royal Navy railway in Kent and later moved to the Bowaters Paper Mill line in Sittingbourne. When that company closed its line in 1969, the locomotive went to work at Whipsnade Zoo. It was later sold to Bill Parker of the Flour Mill Workshop in the Forest of Dean, and Bill undertook a full overhaul. It came to the W&LLR’s 2010 Gala within days of the overhaul being completed, but various running-in issues prevented it showing its full capabilities over the weekend. W&LLR staff anticipate no such issues this time round – the loco has spent the last couple of seasons working very reliably in its old haunt of the Great Whipsnade Railway, while its early arrival in mid-Wales will leave plenty of time for testing over the Llanfair Line’s challenging eight-mile route throughout the summer before CHEVALLIER takes its role in a typically intensive Gala timetable.

 

10th June

Amerton Railway - Steam Gala visitors announced

The Amerton Railway has announced that Kerr Stuart “Joffre” no. 3014 from the Apedale Valley Light Railway will be joining the other visiting engine, newly restored Hudswell Clarke ALPHA from the Statfold Barn Railway at the Steam Gala on 18th & 19th June. Working alongside Amerton Railway resident locos ISABEL and JENNIE, there will be  frequent passenger and freight trains on both days.

 

1st June

Douglas Horse Tramway - 2016 Passenger Figures 50% up

In a recent interview with local Isle of Man news service MTTV, Manx Minister for the Department of Infrastructure, Phil Gawne MHK confirmed that 2016 passenger figures are up 50% year to date. Despite the positive start to the current season the future of the tramway remains uncertain and very much in the balance. A vote on proposals for the future of the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway is expected to take place at the July sitting of Tynwald, the Island's parliament. 

 

29th May

Leighton Buzzard Railway - Record breaking train

On Sunday May 29th, as part of their Simplex Gala weekend, the Leighton Buzzard Railway put out 17 Simplex locos on one train.  The 16.25 service departure from Stonehenge works had 16 Simplex locos on the front although one was not driven and was rounded off with “protected” type Simplex LR3098 of 1918 owned by NRM on the rear of the four coach train. The locos were driven for a distance of approximately 0.6 miles to Pig Farm occupation crossing where most of the locos were put into neutral gear leaving Simplex 40HP locos Nos. 43 and 44 to do the work of hauling the train to Leedon loop.  At Leedon the first 14 locos were detached and after a photographic stop were run back singly to Stonehenge Works under engineers’ possession of the line.  The service train continued to Page’s Park Station hauled by Nos. 43 and 44.

 

25th May

Welshpool & Llanfair Railway - Grant to improve wheelchair access

The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway has been awarded a Government grant of £42,500 to improve access to trains for wheelchair-bound visitors to the line. The grant is being made as part of the £1 million Heritage and Community Rail Tourism Innovation competition, run by the Challenge Fund of the Department for Transport and the Rail Safety & Standards Board (RSSB). Under the 'Disability First' project portable platform lifts will be purchased for both Welshpool and Llanfair stations, replacing the ramps and allowing effective access for manual wheelchairs to most of the line’s carriages. In addition, two carriages in regular service are to be modified to enable them to accommodate the larger motorised wheelchairs and scooters that have become more common in recent times.

23rd May

Welshpool & Llanfair Railway - Major developments for Llanfair

Plans by the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway to significantly improve its facilities have been boosted by an agreement to purchase industrial units adjoining Llanfair Caereinion station. At the preservation company’s Annual General Meeting on 21st May, the trustees announced that on the previous day contracts had been exchanged for the site owned by Colinette Yarns. This consists of five industrial units, located next to the railway’s Keyse Cottage volunteer block and running alongside its existing running shed, plus a small car park.

On this site it is intended to construct a new and larger mechanical engineering workshop, which will incorporate the railway’s carriage and wagon shop. It will release space at the Tanllan sidings facility to provide extra carriage accommodation, and crucially release the space at Llanfair currently occupied by the workshop on which to build a new visitor centre. 

 

16th May

South Tynedale Railway - First Slaggyford extension contract let

The South Tynedale Railway have appointed Carlisle based family firm Cubby Construction to prepare the track bed from Lintley Halt to Slaggyford Station and deliver a new car park there for visitors. This is the first step towards a planned re-opening to Slaggyford in 2017.
 

9th May

Lea Bailey Light Railway - Compressed air loco to arrive for restoration

Following the successful restoration of the Eimco 12B rockershovel at Lea Bailey, the LBLR has been offered the Eimco 401 compressed air loco previously stored on the Lavender Line on a 2 year loan. The intention is for us to to be restored to working order, and then for the LBLR to have the use of it for the rest of the 2 years. The loco is being collected from Isfield on the morning of 15th May and is expected at Lea Bailey in the afternoon.
 

7th May

Lynton & Barnstaple Railway - Chelfham station platform waits for trains

Old ballast from the winter's track relaying programme at Woody Bay has been reused to backfill the platform at Woody Bay up to the level of the recently reinstated platform brick edging at Chelfham, giving the site the appearance of a station that is "just waiting for the track to reach it"!
 

6th May

Amerton Railway - ALPHA to visit for Railway Gala

Recently restored Hudswell Clarke ALPHA is to be the star attraction for the Amerton Railway's Gala Weekend on 18th / 19th June, operating alongside residents ISABEL and JENNIE.
 

Apedale Valley Light Railway - New loco arrives

The AVLR has acquired a WW1 Baldwin 0-4-0DM, originally 60cm gauge, it is currently standard gauge - it will be restored to its original gauge in due course.
 

2nd May

Welshpool & Llanfair Railway - Get ready for mixed trains!

Visitors to the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway on 22nd-23rd April were given the rare opportunity to watch a mixed passenger and freight train in action – the reason being that in 2016 such trains are set to become rather more familiar. The popular Vintage Trains, which operate this season over five weekends, will be mixed workings, combining one of the railway’s original Beyer Peacock 0-6-0T locomotives with three superbly recreated Pickering bogie carriages and also including heritage freight stock.

As well as requiring shunting of the stock at each end of the journey to ensure the vacuum-brake fitted passenger vehicles are rostered next to the locomotive, mixed trains heading to Welshpool have to stop at Sylfaen summit to have their brakes pinned down before descending the challenging Golfa Bank, where the ruling gradient is 1 in 29. 

29th April

Douglas Horse Tramway - New season, new operator

After several months of uncertainty, it is good to be able to report that tomorrow will see the reopening for the 2016 season of the Douglas Horse Tramway, now being operated for the first time by Isle of Man Railways. It is essential that the Tramway has a successful season to secure its future beyond October, so interested enthusiasts are strongly encouraged to visit and experience one of the last remaining original 19th century horse tramways.

18th April

Bure Valley Railway - Remodelled Wroxham open

16th April saw the official opening of the new platform and centre road at the Bure Valley Railway's Wroxham terminus. For the first time that anyone can remember three steam locos were lined up at Wroxham together. The three were 7 SPITFIRE with the service train ex Aylsham, 8 JOHN OF GAUNT on test and 1 WROXHAM BROAD with the charter train for the Friends' of the BVR AGM - this was the first passenger train to arrive at the new platform. The work involved putting in a new platform and trackwork to improve operational flexibility, a new brick built water tower and lamp hut / mess room, a centre release road, new fencing and new site drainage.
 

Steeple Grange Light Railway - Mixed Traction Weekend success

The weekend's Mixed Traction event at the SGLR was declared a success, with seven locos (diesel / electric) in service, and septuple-heading the order of the day on at least one train each day. Train loadings were particularly good on the Saturday, as the regular changes of locomotive offered visitors plenty of variety.

 

17th April

Evesham Vale Railway - Return of the Diesel Day

April 24th will see an opportunity to ride behind the EVLR's two resident diesels CROMWELL and SLUDGE, which will be taking turns on the passenger duties through the day.

 

14th April

Leighton Buzzard Railway - Motor Rail centenary to be commemorated

May 2016 marks the centenary of the start of production of hundreds of internal combustion locomotives by Motor Rail & Tram Car Co of Bedford for the War Department Light Railways. The Leighton Buzzard Railway, which was built shortly after the Great War using war surplus materials, will be marking the event with the loan of Motor Rail built Simplex FESTOON and a wagon to The Higgins Museum, Bedford for display between late April and September.

Back on home metals, the Railway will be marking the centenary with a Gala to be held over the late May bank holiday weekend and the first weekend of June. The Railway has the world’s largest collection of Simplex locomotives and these will be joined by examples from the Apedale Railway, the Golden Valley Railway Museum and the Abbey Pumping Station Museum. On Monday May 30th, one train powered by up to twelve locomotives will be run! At least one multiple headed train will be run each weekend day. The Gala will also be the last chance to see 40hp "protected" Simplex LR3098--built in 1918--at work on our railway, as it will be returning to its owners, the National Railway Museum, shortly afterwards.

 

13th April

South Tynedale Railway - Closure to be commemorated

May 1st marks the 40th Anniversary of the closure of the standard gauge Haltwhistle to Alston branch, whose trackbed the present-day South Tynedale Railway uses. The day will be marked with bunting on the platform, a piper, disco music, refreshments, a 70s-themed quiz and a display with oral recollections in the new Discovery Centre. Trains will be operating to the normal timetable 

 

11th April

Leighton Buzzard Railway - Another £85k needed to complete the Station Building

The LBR has launched an Appeal to raise a further £85,000 to complete the work on the Museum Gateway Project at Page's Park station, in time for its scheduled opening in July. Over £300,000 has already been raised, but unfortunately additional funding is still required due to increased costs in some areas. Donations can be made online at www.buzzrail.co.uk.

 

10th April

Talyllyn Railway - All FIVE Fletcher Jennings survivors for July Gala

The announcement that Amberley's TOWNSEND HOOK will be visiting the TR's "Grand Finale" Gala on 1st-3rd July means that all five Fletcher Jennings survivors will be present for the event, with TOWNSEND HOOK joining sister loco WILLIAM FINLAY, recently acquired by the Tywyn-based Narrow Gauge Railway Museum, standard gauge CAPTAIN BAXTER, which will be operating on a specially laid section of track, and of course TR-residents TALYLLYN and DOLGOCH.

 

9th April

Bala Lake Railway - DIANA passes tests

DIANA was successfully load-tested over the 18th-19th March, taking six coaches and a diesel over the full length of line without difficulty. Plans are now well advanced for her rededication and first ever solo passenger trains on 14th May, there are still a few tickets left for her first train, the 1100 from Bala, click here for details.

 

7th April

Vale of Rheidol Railway - Nantyronen water tank replacement

The old water tank at Nantyronen station, which had been in situ since 1982, was replaced during the course of a day by a new-build GWR-pattern tank manufactured in the Rheidol's Aberystwyth workshops. The old water tank, although life-expired, had its own preservation history, having come to the VoR from Bold Colliery, where it had been used to water the locomotives involved in the commemorations to mark the 150th Anniversary of the Rainhill Trials.

 

6th April

Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways - May Gala Highlights

The timetable for the May Day Bank Holiday Weekend Gala has now been published. Highlights are:

FRIDAY:
• Double-Fairlie working the FR 'Pink' timetable service between Porthmadog and Blaenau Ffestiniog
• Additional afternoon service from Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog and return - double-headed by 'Palmerston' and 'Lyd'
• Afternoon train with Darjeeling Himalaya Railway '19B' and Victorian carriages from Porthmadog to Tan-y-Bwlch and return
• 'Prince' and 'Hugh Napier' on an afternoon light engine move from Boston Lodge to Minffordd
• 'Prince' and 'Hugh Napier' on an afternoon slate waggon train from Minffordd to Glanypwll
• Three evening trains from Porthmadog to Minffordd and return with Darjeeling Himalaya Railway '19B' and Victorian carriages
• Three evening trains from Porthmadog to Pont Croesor and return with Darjeeling Himalaya Railway '19B' and Victorian carriages

SATURDAY:
• Early-morning 'Palmerston' and 'Britomart' hauled train from Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog (limited capacity)
• Morning train with Darjeeling Himalaya Railway '19B' and Victorian carriages from Porthmadog to Tan-y-Bwlch and return
• Two Double-Fairlies working the FR 'Blue' timetable service between Porthmadog and Blaenau Ffestiniog
• Double-headed Hunslet 2-4-0STTs working an 'FRS Members Only' special with NEW TRAIN - Porthmadog to Blaenau and return
• Six 'Palmerston' and 'Britomart' top'n'tailed shuttle trains between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Tanygrisiau
• Afternoon train with Darjeeling Himalaya Railway '19B' and Victorian carriages from Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog and return
• Late afternoon 'Palmerston' and 'Britomart' hauled train from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Porthmadog (limited capacity)
• Footplate rides at Blaenau Ffestiniog - 'Prince' and 'Hugh Napier'
• ALCO 2-6-2T 'Mountaineer' on display at Blaenau Ffestiniog
• Rake of skip wagons on display at Blaenau Ffestiniog - with transfer movements from/to Glanypwll at start and end of day

SUNDAY:
• 'Early-Bird' Breakfast Special - Darjeeling '19B' and corridor stock from Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog and return
• Five 'Palmerston' and 'Britomart' hauled shuttles from Porthmadog to Minffordd and return
• Double-headed Hunslet 2-4-0STTs, 'Lyd' and a Double-Fairlie working on the FR 'Yellow' service between Porthmadog and Blaenau
• Afternoon train from Porthmadog to Beddgelert and return with Darjeeling Himalaya Railway '19B' and Victorian carriages
• PRIVATE >>> 'Farewell to Blanche' special train in the evening
• Footplate rides at Blaenau Ffestiniog - 'Prince' and 'Hugh Napier'
• ALCO 2-6-2T 'Mountaineer' on display at Blaenau Ffestiniog
• Rake of skip wagons on display at Blaenau Ffestiniog - with transfer movements from/to Glanypwll at start and end of day

MONDAY:
• Five Darjeeling Himalaya Railway '19B' hauled shuttles between Porthmadog and Minffordd
• 'Lyd'+'Palmerston' - with two Double-Fairlies - working on the FR 'Yellow' service between Porthmadog and Blaenau Ffestiniog
• 'Prince' and 'Hugh Napier' on an afternoon slate waggon train from Glanypwll to Minffordd
• 'Prince' and 'Hugh Napier' - light engine Minffordd to Boston Lodge
• Footplate rides at Harbour Station, Porthmadog on board 'Linda'
• Boston Lodge Works open to visitors - valid ticket required

 

Narrow Gauge Railway Society - Robert Hudson Catalogue reprinted

As readers who are members of the NGRS will be aware by now, the long awaited reprint of the 1915 Robert Hudson catalogue has been mailed to members, and is available to non-members through their usual bookseller (RRP £8.95). The catalogue does not disappoint, the reprint covers every aspect of Light Railways - track and permanent way materials, steam and i/c locomotives, rolling stock and components, etc.Profusely illustrated with pictures, drawings and diagrams.

2nd April

Thorpe Light Railway - Running season extended

The Friends of the Thorpe Light Railway are opening on six days in 2016 rather than the two or three of the past few years. This private 15" gauge line is near Barnard Castle, County Durham. It featured in "Narrow Gauge Net Summer Special" 1 and 2. Running days this year are the 3rd Sunday of the month April to September between 12 -4 pm - i.e. April 17th, May 15th, June 19th, July 17th, August 21st, September 18th. For the first two dates at least motive power should be a newly-loaned Severn Lamb "Rio Grande". This one actually worked in Galway and Tramore with the loaned Severn Lamb carriages on site. A visiting steam loco is being planned for at least one of the summer running dates. Further details will be available nearer the time at www.thorpelightrailway.co.uk

1st April

Ffestiniog Railway - JAMES SPOONER to reappear

With many major components on 1979-built EARL OF MERIONETH now being life-expired, the FR has taken the decision to build a new Fairlie, to be named JAMES SPOONER. It is hoped by the FR that the new loco will contain at least some components from the original of that name, along with many cab and ancillary fittings from EARL OF MERIONETH. Despite the date of the Press Release, this is NOT an April Fool spoof....!

 

30th March

Beamish - LILLA to visit for April

Due to problems with the resident steam locomotives, Hunslet LILLA has been hired from the Ffestiniog Railway to provide steam services during April.

 

23rd March

Apedale Valley Light Railway / Moseley Railway Trust - Baldwin to visit 'Tracks' 2016

In addition to the previously announced visits of Kerr, Stuart JOFFRE from the West Lancashire Light Railway and Hudswell Clarke 1643 from Statfold, Baldwin 44656 of 1917 will make a very welcome return visit to Apedale from its normal base at the Leighton Buzzard Light Railway. In return, Hudswell Clarke 1638 will visit the LBLR's WDLR Gala on August 28th, 29th & 31st and September 1st, 4th & 5th.

 

22nd March

Talyllyn Railway - EDWARD THOMAS' travels

Talyllyn Railway No. 4 EDWARD THOMAS was one of the stars of the Severn Valley Railway Spring Gala over the weekend of 18-20th March. No. 4 was resident at Highley, next to the Engine Shed, on a portable running line, with footplate rides being offered in return for donations to No. 3 SIR HAYDN's Appeal.

 

15th March

Bressingham - Gala Visitors announced

Bressingham Steam Museum is this year celebrating 50 years since its founder Alan Bloom laid the 2’ gauge Nursery Railway and re-introduced narrow gauge steam to East Anglia. The main celebration will form a special Heritage Steam Gala held over the Bank Holiday weekend of 30th April, 1st and 2nd of May. This will see DeWinton CHALONER and Baguley RISHRA visiting from the Leighton Buzzard Railway. They will be joining the home fleet for an intensive service which will include demonstration freight trains and some double heading. Large Quarry Hunslet GEORGE SHOLTO which opened the line in 1966 is also rostered for all three days. Bressingham built loco BEVAN will also be in steam.

 

13th March

Moseley Railway Trust - The Power of The Horse

The Moseley Railway Trust has received a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant of £10,000, it was announced today. This money will be used to develop the Trust’s interpretation of the role of the horse with both civilian industrial railways, and also in delivering supplies to the front lines during the First World War.

 

7th March

Vale of Rheidol Railway - Appeal for numberplates

The Vale of Rheidol Railway has launched an appeal for information about the final resting place of the 1213 numberplates fitted to the loco which is now 9 between 1924 and 1948. Any readers with information regarding the disposal of these numberplates by British Railways are asked to contact the railway.

 

5th March

Bala Lake Railway - Extension fundraising success

Substantial donations have come from supporters of this project all over the country, and we have now received generous donations of £5000 and £10000 from two particular supporters. The progress made has not only enabled the BLR to acquire the rail needed, but also puts the railway in a position where they are tantalisingly close to being able to buy the first plot of land in Bala where the new station will be built. The railway is now making a big push to raise this money.

 

3rd March

Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway - Carriage Development Survey

The R&ER are applying for funding to work up carriage prototypes which will eventually replace all the current rolling stock. They are also looking to implement changes to existing designs and develop new prestige carriages. Passengers' opinions are being actively sought.

 

North Gloucestershire Railway - JUSTINE for Easter

JUSTINE is the rostered loco for Easter Sunday and Monday trains, the start of our operating season. 1091 and CHAKA have passed their annual visual boiler inspections and will be inspected in steam shortly.

 

17th February

War Office Locomotive Trust - 1215's boiler is back!

The boiler of War Office Hunslet 4-6-0 No. 1215 was finally returned to the Project's Workshops on February 4th, upon completion of its overhaul and steam testing. Reassembly of the loco is now in progress, working towards a commissioning event later in 2016 - watch this space!

 

17th February

Narrow Gauge Railway Society - EGM approves incorporation

Narrow Gauge Railway Society members have decided overwhelmingly to endorse the committee’s recommendation to transfer the assets and operations of the society into a company limited by guarantee. An extraordinary general meeting was held at Kidderminster on Saturday February 13 to consider the proposal. This followed a postal ballot in which all members were invited to vote on the proposal, either in person, by post or by email and over a quarter of the membership registered their vote - the committee sees this as a very high level of engagement.

The vote was almost 100% in favour of the proposal, with just two votes against and three postal votes where the voting intention was unclear.  There were 305 votes in favour. The committee will now take steps to transfer the Society's assets into the new company, with effect from 1 April 2016. The name of the company will be the Narrow Gauge Railway Society -  that has not changed, and members will notice very little difference in membership.

 

13th February

Ffestiniog Railway - PRINCESS at "The Cross"

IMG 0171 SMALL

Regular NGNet contributor Alan Frewin has kindly sent us this photo of PRINCESS on display at King's Cross station. The England is here for a week as part of a promotional tour.

 

12th February

Lynton & Barnstaple Railway - PILTON cutdown

Work has started on the L&B's ex-Australian Baguley diesel PILTON, to reduce its loading gauge sufficiently to pass under the line's original overbridges. Much preparatory work had been done over the preceding weeks, but the highly visible action of removing the cab to enable it to be reduced in height has raised the profile (pun intended!) of this project. The locomotive is intended to be a "Thunderbird" rescue locomotive when the line is extended to (and eventually beyond) Blackmoor Gate.

 

12th February

Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway - DOUGAL on its travels

The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway's smallest locomotive, ex Provan Gasworks 0-4-0T DOUGAL, will be the star attraction at the 16mm Association's Annual Show in Peterborough on 9th April.

 

11th February

Talyllyn Railway - EDWARD THOMAS to visit Severn Valley Railway

The Talyllyn Railway's EDWARD THOMAS is due to visit the Severn Valley Railway during the SVR's Spring Gala Weekend on 18th-20th March. The locomotive will operate on a specially laid length of track at Highley. It will be the first time the loco has operated outside Wales since its delivery to the Corris Railway in 1921.

 

7th February

Groudle Glen Railway - POLAR BEAR coming home!

Arrangements have been made for Amberley based POLAR BEAR to return home to the Groudle Glen Railway in July and August to help the Manx line celebrate its 120th Anniversary. It is currently planned that the loco will operate on the GGR on 24th / 27th / 30th / 31st July and 3rd / 7th August.

 

31st January

Apedale Valley Light Railway (Moseley Railway Trust) - TTTT2 visitors announced

The Moseley Railway Trust has announced details of the first two visiting steam locomotives for May's Tracks to the Trenches 2016 military railways event. Coming from its normal base at the West Lancashire Light Railway is Kerr, Stuart No.2405, built in 1915. This locomotive is the oldest survivor of the type known as the Joffres and the loco carries that name. This visit will re-unite this locomotive with the Joffre-class resident at Apedale, No.3014. 

Making a very welcome return visit to Apedale is Hudswell, Clarke no. 1643. Although built after the end of World War One – in 1930 – it is of the same design as the “G” class Hudswell steam locos which saw considerable military service. Again, there is an Apedale home-fleet loco of the same design – no.1238 of 1916 – and every opportunity will be taken to pair these twins together. 

Sadly, however, the War Office Locomotive Trust’s Hunslet 4-6-0 locomotive 1215 will not be able to attend the event. Restoration is continuing on the locomotive, but a number of delays have been encountered. The owners and the MRT have therefore decided that the best course of action is to ensure that the best possible restoration is carried out, rather than rushing to meet the May 2016 deadline.

 

28th January

South Tynedale Railway - Revamped Discovery Centre opened

With the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, the South Tynedale Railway has begun its season by opening a revamped "Discovery Centre". The whole project saw a basic industrial unit being replaced with an accessible space which tells the history of what is now the South Tynedale Railway Heritage Attraction. This new space will provide an added attraction for all visitors to the Railway. The 1250 sq. ft. space is also available for hire for special events etc. The Discovery Centre will be open to the public on weekdays between February and December, and on weekends during the operating season.

 

26th January

Lynton & Barnstaple Railway - Planning applications for Blackmoor Gate extension submitted

The planning applications to extend the L&B a further four and a half miles from the current southern terminus of Killington Lane to Blackmoor Gate and Wistlandpound Reservoir have now been submitted. As well as the extension to the running line, the plans also provide for the transfer of the railway's centre of operations, including locomotive and carriage sheds, from Woody Bay to Blackmoor Gate, and the modification of the existing pub / restaurant business developed at the old Blackmoor Gate station to include the operational needs of the station, and a car park for 160 vehicles. Once opened, a shuttle bus will operate from Woody Bay to Lynton, thus taking traffic out of the National Park, prior to the later extension of the railway on to Lynton and thence back to Barnstaple.

 

21st January

North Gloucestershire Railway - Come and bid farewell (for now!) to JUSTINE

Easter Sunday and Monday 27 and 28 March will mark the last workings by JUSTINE before expiration of its ten year boiler life, so readers are invited to see this 110 year old locomotive in steam. Running dates for 2016 are shown on the revamped website – which also now includes a stock list. The Lister occasionally comes out of storage for a run up and down the line. There are thoughts about making more use of the smaller diesels for demonstration purposes.

 

15th January

Leighton Buzzard Railway - Station demolished

As part of the preparation works for the construction of the new Station Building and Museum at Page's Park, the old station building has been emptied and demolished, with a steam-hauled works train laid on to transport the contents to Stonehenge Works for storage.

 

14th January

Golden Valley Light Railway - South African bogies arrive

With the recent purchase of two steel-bodied carriages from the Ffestiniog Railway, the GVLR had an urgent requirement for bogies to sit them on. So the decision was made, along with a several other railways to purchase a number of bogies from South Africa, four of which have now been delivered to the GVLR.

 

14th January

Narrow Gauge Railway Society - NGRS members to get facsimile reprint of 1915 Hudson catalogue

Members of the Narrow Gauge Railway Society are set to receive a bumper mailing in March 2016. As well as the normal issues of The Narrow Gauge and Narrow Gauge News (now in full colour), all members will receive a facsimile reprint of the 92-page catalogue issued by Robert Hudson Limited in 1915 – one of the rare items in the Society’s library collection. Jim Hay, the Society librarian, explains “The Narrow Gauge Railway Society has perhaps the largest archive collection of narrow gauge railway documents in the UK – books, journals, periodicals, works drawings, manufacturer records, catalogues, maps, plans, timetables, photographs and films. Members can use the library for their research, but we also want to share some of our gems with every member of the Society – hence this reprint”. In its 92 pages, this facsimile reprint displays all the company’s products at a pivotal time in light railway history – when a massive program of light railway construction was about to start on the Western Front, with Hudson as a principle contractor for rolling stock and track. All members of the Society as at March 6, 2016 will receive the Robert Hudson catalogue facsimile reprint, including anyone who joins the Society by then. See the Society website at www.ngrs.org/ for information on how to join and get this fascinating book. 

9th January

Ffestiniog Railway - PRINCESS to Kings Cross

From February 12th to 21st, England PRINCESS will make only its second visit to the city of its birth since leaving for Porthmadog in 1863, when it will be displayed on the western concourse of Kings Cross station promoting the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways (its first visit was a similar outing to Paddington in 2013).

 

8th January

Golden Valley Light Railway - Carriage Shed Appeal launched

Following its recent purchase of two additional coaches, the GVLR has launched an Appeal to raise £70,000 for a purpose-built Carriage Shed. The new building will be 36 metres long and 8 metres wide, of sufficient size to house all the line's passenger vehicles as well as some of the smaller diesel locomotives awaiting restoration.

 

5th January

Corris Railway - Gala announced

The Corris Railway has announced a Gala Day for 29th May 2016. Steam will be represented by Corris number 7, the 2005 built "Tattoo" 0-4-2ST. Internal combustion will be in the form of the revived line’s first operational loco Simplex number 5 ALAN MEADEN, Ruston number 6 and the large Orenstein and Koppel number 11 which arrived in 2015.  Subject to completion of overhaul battery electric number 9, which worked at the slate quarry at Aberllefenni,  will be shunting at Maespoeth Junction. It is intended to have a mixture of steam and diesel hauled trains in action during the day plus gravity train working. 

 

31st December

Evesham Vale Light Railway - DOUGAL returns

Following a cylinder overhaul, which included new piston rings, valves & surface grinding of the valve faces, Dougal re-entered service today. The railway is now open every weekend, operating from 1030 to 4pm each day. 

 

24th December

Leighton Buzzard Railway - Museum team prepares for demolition...

The first task of the Museum Gateway team, the erection of a temporary ticket office, has now been completed. Attention now shifts to the old building at Page's Park, which is being emptied in readiness for demolition in mid-January.

 

22nd December

Welshpool & Llanfair Railway - Also has a new Gala for 2016! Plus other enthusiast events...

Prominent in the list of enthusiast attractions for the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway in 2016 is the announcement of a Diesel Day on 24th September, in addition to the traditional Gala Weekend in late August. Another attraction to photographers is the return of the mixed trains which formed the majority of workings on the line in its early life. Five vintage weekends during the season will feature train sets made up of replicas of the W&LLR’s original Great Western liveried carriages, with goods wagons and brake van attached, and shunting taking place at each end of the line. There will also be a Country Railway Weekend on June 25th / 26th, during which the W&LLR will be demonstrating railway operations as they would have been in the 1920s-30s.

The season is set to start earlier than in previous years, on 19th March, one week before the Easter weekend, and the regular timetable will include a new intensive service in August. On these days the first departure from the Welshpool end of the line will be at 9.45am, more than an hour earlier than in previous years, and the service will include heritage diesel trains at either end of the day.

 

21st December

Talyllyn Railway - Two new Galas for 2016

The Talyllyn Railway has announced the continuation of its 150th Anniversary celebrations with two new gala weekends to be held in 2016:

Over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend (30 April – 2 May 2016) they will be holding the ‘Road to Adventure Gala’. This will celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the opening of the Extension between Abergynolwyn and Nant Gwernol along the former mineral line, which was dubbed ‘The Road to Adventure’ by L.T.C. Rolt. The weekend will have a 1970s theme, and will include re-enactments of some of the key moments of the building of the Extension. On the Saturday (30 April) the railway will work a modified version of the early 1970s peak service between Tywyn Wharf and Abergynowyn, with a shuttle service operating between Abergynolwyn and Nant Gwernol. Then on the Sunday (1 May) the 1976 peak service will be operated including ten daytime departures from Tywyn Wharf. Monday 2 May will see the 25th Anniversary of locomotive No.7 TOM ROLT being celebrated with a ceremony at Abergynolwyn, having previously been the subject of an early morning photo train. This will also include the 75th Anniversary of diesel locomotive No.5 MIDLANDER, which will be in charge of the railway’s vintage set on the day.

Then to finish the TR’s 150th Celebrations there will be ‘The Grand Finale’ over the weekend of the 1, 2 and 3 July. This will centre on the 150th Anniversary of No.2 DOLGOCH.

 

15th December

War Office Locomotive Trust - Hunslet 1215 continues to progress, but won't make TTTT2

Despite significant progress being made on the restoration of Hunslet 1215, the War Office Locomotive Trust have regrettably had to take the decision that the locomotive will not be ready in time to make its planned debut at next May's "Tracks to the Trenches 2" event at Apedale. The latest update is that the boiler has now been retubed, but the effect of delays and additional work earlier on in the restoration programme have resulted in a revised estimate of the length of time which the restoration is likely to take to complete. On a positive note, the fundraising appeal for the locomotive is now within £8000 of its target, although any and all further contributions would be welcome! See the website at www.warofficehunslet.org.uk where a range of sponsorship options are available, from £50 for a signed book to a ticket on the inaugural train for £500...

 

11th December

Leighton Buzzard Railway - LBR awarded Accredited Museum status

The Leighton Buzzard Railway is celebrating achievement of Full Museum Accreditation status by Arts Council England. The achievement is recognition of the importance of the collection that has been established over 40 years and the commitment of the volunteers who care and maintain it. The collection, initially focussed on the town’s sand industry, now covers a wider range of industrial narrow-gauge railway equipment from around the world and a significant exhibits that saw service in the Great War.

 

3rd December

Leighton Buzzard Railway - New locomotive arrives

The Leighton Buzzard Railway has taken delivery of its latest locomotive, Krauss 7455 of 1918. The 'Feldbahn', which was purchased in 2014, has been in store at the LBR's twin railway, Le P'tit Train de la Haute-Somme, at Froissy, for some months. However it has now arrived at Stonehenge Works, where it is currently on display. Whilst the loco is unrestored, and has not worked for many years, it was subject to a favourable technical inspection prior to purchase so a full restoration can be expected in time.

 

20th November

Golden Valley Light Railway - New siding laid

In 2014, the GVLR laid a trap point in the access track to Brands South Sidings to protect the token section. The stub of this trap point has now been extended by 40ft to provide storage for five wagons.

 

16th November 

Narrow Gauge Railway Museum - New loco to be acquired

The NGRM has announced a unique opportunity to bring another Fletcher, Jennings engine to Tywyn - WILLIAM FINLAY, which used to work at the Dorking Greystone Lime Company. At Tywyn it will be displayed in the Museum where it can be compared to the Talyllyn Railway’s two original locomotives from the same manufacturer, TALYLLYN and DOLGOCH. The locomotive (works number 173L) has been privately owned and not on display for some years. The locomotive has been offered to the Trust for what is considered to be a very reasonable price and is considered an opportunity too good to be missed. Therefore an appeal has been launched to raise the required £60,000 to fund the purchase, transportation, cosmetic restoration and display costs of the locomotive.

 

14th November

Talyllyn Railway - Managers sought

Following the departure of General Manager Chris Price (who has left to take over the reins at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway) the TR has carried out a review of its management structure, and is now seeking applicants for two positions - General Manager and Engineering Manager. Full details can be found on the TR's website, with a closing date of 31st December 2015.

 

9th November

Leadhills Railway - Tamper on its way

Manufacture of the new ballast tamper has been completed in France, and it has now been disassembled and packed into crates for shipping to Leadhills.

 

6th November

Corris Railway - Southern extension progress

A spell of dry weather during October allowed work to go ahead with work on the deviation works required as part of the southwards extension of the Corris Railway from its present terminus at Maespoeth Junction. Using earthmoving equipment over 100 metres of trackbed was levelled and preparations towards eventual track laying progressed. There is still a gap in the eventual route between Maespoeth and the new section as work continues to deal with the culvert at Pont y Goedwig. 

 

1st November    

Lynton & Barnstaple Railway - L&B has an Australian twin!

The L&B has signed a formal twinning agreement with the Walhalla Goldfields Railway in Victoria, Australia. The intention is to "generate reciprocal volunteer opportunities and to encourage opportunities for mutual practical exchanges of information to enhance preservation, extension and operations".

 

25th October   

Lynton & Barnstaple Railway - Chelfham looks more like a station again!

Following the restoration of the station nameboard in 2013, the restoration work at Chelfham station continues, with blue bricks now in place along most of the platform edges, when combined with a cleared trackbed (open to walkers as far as Loxhore), it really is now possible to envisage what the restored station will look like. If readers want to investigate further, the site is open to visitors every Sunday.

 

23rd October  

Talyllyn Railway - SIR HAYDN to Rheidol for relaying

No.3 SIR HAYDN left Tywyn on a low-loader for Aberystwyth on October 22nd, for overhaul at the Vale of Rheidol Railway’s workshops. The aim is to have the locomotive back in service for its 140th Anniversary in 2018. To this end an agreement has been reached with the Vale of Rheidol for a ‘staged’ overhaul, with an initial assessment period to determine precisely what work will need to be done before it can re-enter service by Spring 2018. A repair fund has already raised £30,000 towards the work, but how much more will be required will only be known when a full examination, particularly of the locomotive’s boiler, has been carried out.

 

20th October 

Ffestiniog Railway - To be closed for relaying

FR services between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Porthmadog will be suspended between November 2nd and December 12th for replacement of the life-expired bullhead rail between Penrhyn and Highgate crossings with new Polish S30 rail. This is the last section of bullhead rail remaining on the FR main line. Replacement services using Welsh Highland stock with double-headed FR locos will run between Porthmadog and Rhyd Ddu for the duration of the closure. The FR will reopen in time for the Victorian Santa Trains which start running on December 12th.

 

15th October

North Gloucestershire Railway - Successful Galas end the season

October 3 and 4 saw the End of Season Steam Up, which was blessed with good weather and a healthy attendance. In steam and hauling trains were JUSTINE, 1091 and TOURSKA. The latter, 0-6-0T Chrzanow 3512 of 1957, arrived during September to take up residence and was only working after strenuous efforts in the previous few days to get the loco through its annual boiler test. CHAKA was not steamed as it was about to receive lining out on its new paintwork, this has now been done and it is being varnished. The season ended with the Simplex and Hunslet diesels working trains during the GWR's diesel gala on 10 and 11 October. The Lister was brought out of its storage shed and trundled up and down the yard with three skips. JUSTINE returned from Apedale at the end of September accompanied by some bogies on loan, which it is hoped to use under the Wembley carriage body. These are now in the process of being completely stripped down for renovation. The 32mm live steam layout has been a very popular attraction on operating days, and continues to be improved.

 

8th October  

Bala Lake Railway - HOLY WAR returns

Having just missed the line's August Gala Weekend, Quarry Hunslet HOLY WAR was successfully returned to steam in September, and is now once again available for passenger traffic.

 

1st October  

Corris Railway - 'Falcon' newbuild construction progress

Following further donations and fund raising the project to build the next steam locomotive for the revival of the Corris Railway is moving ahead at the works of Alan Keef Ltd.

The next stage of the construction of steam locomotive number 10 will see work underway on machining the axle boxes and bearings, supplying and fitting springs. This work has been estimated as costing £14.5k. There is also now enough in the funds for the casting of the solid wheel centres for the four driving wheels, after some generous donations and successful fund raising, notably at the annual Model Railway Exhibition held by the Corris in Machynlleth.

Donations towards the construction of number 10 can be made via the website at www.corris.co.uk or posted to Corris Railway, 38 Underwood Close, Callow Hill, Redditch B97 5YS.

 

28th September

Amerton Railway - Visitors for Diesel Gala this weekend

The Amerton Railway have announced two visiting locomotives will be running at this weekend's Diesel Gala - Motor Rail 8669 and newly restored Ruston 189972 PLUTO will be visiting from the Moseley Railway Trust. The visitors are expected to be in service on passenger and freight trains alongside four resident locos, with a further resident on yard duties only. The line's other diesel locos will be on static display.

 

24th September  

Lynton & Barnstaple Railway - Gala Arrangements published

FREE PARK & RIDE From Caffyns Halt signposted on the A39.
First train at 10:00am - Last train 5-00pm - both days. Passenger trains every 30 minutes, demonstration goods in between.
Four locos in steam, some trains will be double-headed.
Fares are: Adult £12, Concession £10, Family Ticket £28, Child (aged 5 -14) £3. 
Intending visitors please note that this is one of the few times in the year when it will be necessary to purchase a ticket to enter the site.

 

23rd September 

Leighton Buzzard Railway - Baldwin withdrawn for overhaul

Greensand Railway Museum Trust’s Baldwin 4-6-0T WDLR No. 778 (BLW 44656/1917) worked its final trains on September 13th prior to expiry of its boiler certificate. Following its participation in the September 12-13 Steam-Up Weekend, during which it worked its longest-ever train on the LBR line – a mixed operation comprising four passenger carriages and three WW1 bogie D wagons, No. 778 was withdrawn and loaded on a transporter. It was delivered to Alan Keef Ltd near Ross-on-Wye on September 17.

 

21st September

Leadhills Railway - Stock Shed Appeal launched

Following the success of the fundraising appeal for a tamper (see the separate story from earlier this month), the Leadhills Railway has launched a fundraising appeal for the construction of a Stock Shed to protect their stock from the extremes of weather which can occur at the line's 1450ft altitude.There are various incentives for donations, for more details, please visit:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/leadhills-and-wanlockhead-railway#/story

Moseley Railway Trust / Apedale Valley Light Railway - Final chance to see JUSTINE

On an unscheduled extra steaming day, this Saturday 26 September will see the final operation at Apedale of Jung-built Justine, visiting from Toddington. Services will be running every half hour from 1130 to 1600.

 

North Gloucestershire Railway - Another new loco!

Tourska

Polish built 0-6-0T TOURSKA arrived at Toddington on 14 September. It was test steamed two days later (when it is pictured, courtesy NGR), but needs some work before having a boiler insurance exam at the end of the month.

 

20th September  

Lynton & Barnstaple Railway - Visit Chelfham during the Autumn Gala!

Chelfham Station - together with the adjacent trackbed and woodland walk - will be open from 10am on both the Saturday and Sunday of the Autumn Gala Weekend, with some catering available on the Sunday afternoon. The second-hand bookshop is now open in the 'garage'. Intending visitors are advised that parking at Chelfham Station is very limited, but spaces are normally available along the lane under the viaduct. The postcode for the site is EX31 4RP.

 

18th September 

Amerton Railway - Railways on the Air

CQ, the standard phrase used by amateur radio stations making a general call for contacts from other stations, is likely to be heard a lot at Amerton during the “Railways on the Air” weekend on 26th & 27th September, when the Stafford Portable Amateur Radio Club is welcomed to the railway.

Railways on the air (ROTA) weekend usually takes place every year on the weekend closest to 27th September, which date celebrates the anniversary the first passenger train ran on the Stockton & Darlington Railway. The event sees amateur radio operations from railways around the country and indeed around the world. SPARC have obtained a special event call sign for the weekend – so we will see station GB6AR operating from the railway and we hope that many contacts will be made with other railways participating in the event.

17th September  

Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railway - Little and Large at Dinas

hr B3122583

The traditional 'Superpower' weekend on the WHR once again had "Great and Small" as its theme, with the activities being centred on Dinas. The photo (by Andrew Thomas) shows LILLA and BRITOMART on cab ride duty. In the background can be seen PRINCE and LYD. Other locos in service were Garratts 87 and 138, LINDA, BLANCHE, HUGH NAPIER, CASTELL CAERNARFON and JACK LANE, the latter visiting from the Statfold Barn Railway.

 

Moseley Railway Trust / Apedale Valley Light Railway - Tracks to the Trenches returns in May 2016

The Moseley Railway Trust has confirmed that May 2016 will see another Tracks to the Trenches railway gala. The star attraction at the 2016 event is hoped to be the public debut of the iconic Hunslet 4-6-0 – War Department No.303 (Hunslet number 1215). This loco will celebrate its centenary in 2016. The locomotive - unique in the UK - was repatriated from Australia in 2005, and has been rebuilt by the War Office Locomotive Trust.

Hunslet 1215 will be joined by other locomotives & vehicles from World War One - both from the Moseley Railway Trust’s own collection and visiting from other railways. Details of visiting locomotives will be released as they are confirmed.

There will be a considerable presence of other World War One military themed attractions, including re-enactor groups who will use the replica Trench system which the Trust has constructed at Apedale. The Trench is, of course, served by its own 2’0” gauge railway – the Trench Tramway.

 

14th September  

Leighton Buzzard Railway - PEDEMOURA boiler refitted

The Leighton Buzzard Railway has now refitted the boiler to O&K PEDEMOURA. Unfortunately, work on the 1924-built loco was not sufficiently complete for it to take part in the "Steam-Up" Weekend on 12th & 13th September.

 

Poppleton Railway Nursery - Heritage Royal Train on display

Heritage Day was celebrated on Saturday 12 September with a Red Carpet event. Using the Nursery's red carpet, rope and poles, originally used by British Railways for Royal rail visits, to demonstrate a Royal red carpet. Lister locomotive LOWCO and a suitably decorated skip wagon were used as the Royal train. Despite several heavy rain showers the nursery had many visitors who showed an interest in the red carpet diplay and the rest of the nursery. The next open day is on 3 October.

 

13th September  

Bala Lake Railway - Gala success - book the date for next year now!

The BLR's Gala over the August Bank Holiday Weekend was deemed to have been a success, with the railway promising a similar show over the same weekend in 2016. Highlights included the line's first quadruple-header, of MAID MARIAN, JACK LANE (visiting from Statfold), ALICE and WINIFRED. Diesels BOB DAVIES, CHILMARK, LADY MADCAP and MEIRIONYDD also played an active part, as did the enwly arrived Wickham trolley, which operated shuttle services to Pentrepiod. Off the rails, Ivo Peters Bentley attracted plenty of interest, and an unexpected visitor was the last operational Vulcan bomber, which overflew Llanuwchllyn en route to the Air Show at Rhyl.

 

10th September  

Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway - Gala timetable published

The SKLR's End of Season Gala on 26th & 27th September will feature three locomotives (LEADER, SUPERB and a diesel) and various train formations including a Bowaters freight and a mixed train. The full working timetable has been published online at:

http://www.sklr.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Gala-public-TT-2015.pdf

 

8th September  

Westonzoyland Light Railway - Visitors for Railway Gala

Barclayandtrain
 
The Westonzoyland Light Railway held its first Gala on August Bank Holiday Monday. The main feature was the entering into service of the bogie coach, originally built for the Creekmoor Light Railway at Poole in 1970, which has been widened and refurbiished. The station's 1968 Simplex and 1949 Lister locomotives were joined by visiting 1936 Lister Rail-Truck 8022 from Gloucestershire and 1970 Barclay 555 from the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway (ex-ICI Nobels Ardeer) (this loco is pictured above by Andy Carter). Passenger trains were normally operated by the Barclay with the Listers paired with some restored peat wagons on loan from the S&D Trust at Washford and making frequent trips to the woodpile at the end of the line to collect more wagons of wood to feed the station's steam boiler.

 

7th September  

Leadhills Railway - Ballast Tamper purchased

The Leadhills Railway has announced that it has placed an order for a brand new ballast tamper, to be built by French company CFG and supplied via Alan Keef, at a total cost (including delivery) of £24,468. Delivery is expected before the end of 2015. When delivered, it will be only the second of its type in the UK, and the first 2ft gauge example, the other being 762mm gauge at the Great Whipsnade Railway.

 

North Gloucestershire Railway - JUSTINE visits Apedale

Resident JUSTINE departed the line on 4th September, to visit the Moseley Railway Trust at Apedale for their Gala Weekend on September 12th / 13th. Services remain in the hands of 1091, pending completion of the work required on CHAKA'S KRAAL No. 6, which should be completed in time for the Gala on October 3rd / 4th, when JUSTINE will also be back in service. The line's final days of operation for this year will be October 10th / 11th, when the line's two diesel locomotives will be in service as part of the attractions for the adjacent GWR's Diesel Gala Weekend.

 

3rd September  

North Gloucestershire Railway - Steam-Up Line-Up announced

The North Gloucestershire Railway at Toddington has announced that its Steam-Up on October 3rd / 4th will feature (subject to availability) resident steam locos JUSTINE, 1091 and newly-overhauled CHAKA'S KRAAL No. 6, in addition to the two resident diesels. Adult fares are just £5 for an All-Day Rover ticket.

  

1st September  

Leighton Buzzard Railway

Planning permission has today been received for the new station building at Page's Park. In addition, the benefactor behind the earlier "Double Your Money" appeal has extended his generosity to encourage the railway to raise the remaining £80,000 required to build the £300,000 project, meaning that the railway only has to find £40,000, so long as it is raised within the next three months...

 

31st August  

Launceston Steam Railway

On the afternoon of Sunday 30th August at approximately 4.10pm the railway was subject to an armed robbery from the shop. Fortunately no one at the railway was hurt but staff are obviously shocked at the events. Shortly after the incident a police officer was assaulted on the nearby 'Zig Zag' path when trying to apprehend a man. The thief was a white male in his 40s-50s, approximately 5'8" high. If anyone saw someone acting suspiciously in the area around the Railway or the Zig Zag path, or has any other information which would help the police enquiry, please do report it to the police. The police now have a suspect in custody. The railway would like to thank all those who have been in touch to offer their support - locally, nationally and even internationally. The line remains open as usual.

 

27th August  

Leighton Buzzard Railway

The line-up for the "Steam-Up" weekend on September 12th / 13th has now been confirmed. Up to nine locomotives will be in steam - joining the resident fleet of ELF and P.C.ALLEN’ (Germany), 778 (USA), PETER PAN and RISHRA (England), CHALONER (Wales), will be visitors MINAS DE ALLER 2 (France), SAO DOMINGOS (Germany – again!) and JACK (Scotland). Between them, these locomotives have worked in England, Wales, Scotland, France, Spain, Portugal, India and Cameroon. Sunday 13th September is likely to be the final steaming of 778 prior to overhaul, which is scheduled to be completed in time for her centenary in 2017. An intensive timetable of passenger trains and demonstration freights will be operated.

In addition to PEDEMOURA at Pages Park, visitors there may see residents PIXIE and DOLL under overhaul while at Stonehenge on display are recent arrival from France, the Krauss (Germany) ‘Brigadelok’ and Freudenstein (Germany) PENLEE. A vintage bus tour of the area's still active sand quarrying industry will operate from Stonehenge Works station. The bus tour is free of charge, but donations will be welcome. On the Saturday, Stonehenge works’ resident fleet of industrial diesels will be in operation in the yard, while on Sunday the Ruston-Bachyrus 10RB digger, a survivor from the nearby sand quarries, will be demonstrated. On both days, the miniature railway at Stonehenge will also be in operation.

 

25th August 

Welsh Highland Railway

CaernarfonStationDesignElevation2015RevA

The Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway has unveiled the latest design for its proposed new station at Caernarfon. The railway held two public consultation events in the town last year and has incorporated ideas and suggestions made by local residents and visitors into the new design, which will include retail, catering and display areas covering two floors. The development will make use of land already occupied by the railway's temporary station buildings and car park. It is likely that work will start in winter 2016-17.

 

20th August 

Lynton & Barnstaple Railway

The L&B's extension plans have taken a significant step forwards, with the delivery of two wagons obtained via the well known South African steam centre at Sandstone. The two, a Hudson self discharging bogie ballast hopper and a DZ-type bogie dropside open were shipped by container, which arrived at Woody Bay for unloading today.

 

18th August  

Leighton Buzzard Railway

The LBR has launched "VIP Railway Experience Days", where, on selected operating days, participants can do more than "Drive A Loco", the full day experience also includes firing and guarding. With the Railway Experience trains operating alongside the regular passenger services, there is expected to also be the unusual (for the narrow gauge) opportunity to be on the footplate when trains cross in a passing loop.

 

Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway

PREMIER, one of the original two locomotives delivered to Lloyd’s Paper Mill in 1905, is undergoing a complete restoration to ‘as built’ condition. As a part of this work, the engine’s boiler needs retubing so a fund raising campaign has been launched to Sponsor A Tube – all 70 tubes need to be replaced. Sponsorship of £50 per tube is available, click here for more details.

 

17th August

Ffestiniog Railway

The visit of HUGH NAPIER to Bristol Temple Meads has been confirmed for the August Bank Holiday Weekend 29th-31st August.

 

14th August

Apedale Valley Light Railway (Moseley Railway Trust)

The lineup for the "September Steam Up" on 12th / 13th September has been announced, with Jung JUSTINE visiting from the North Gloucestershire Railway at Toddington. Residents STANHOPE and HC1238 will be in service, along with demonstration freight trains on the field railway, and drive-a-loco.

 

13th August

Lynton & Barnstaple Railway

A record day for the L&B today, with over 550 people being carried on a normal service day. The classic "railway weather" forecast of "cloudy, rain later" brought the families in off the beach!

 

12th August

Bala Lake Railway

The timetable for the August Bank Holiday Weekend has now been finalised. Highlights include freight trains passing at Llangower, double-headed passenger trains, a quintuple-headed photo charter, and BOB DAVIES and MEIRONYDD in passenger service. The line's new Wickham Trolley will also be giving passenger rides in Llanuwchllyn station. Full details of the Gala can be found by clicking here.

 

Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway

The Museum at Ravenglass has now reopened following refurbishment - don't forget to visit during the 100th Anniversary celebrations over the August Bank Holiday Weekend....

 

11th August 

Talyllyn Railway

The annual Floral Train, headed by DOLGOCH and suitably decorated, ran this evening. Congratulations are also due to longstanding TR volunteer Chris Parrott, who celebrated 50 years on the footplate by driving TALYLLYN, the first loco he fired 50 years ago.

 

10th August 

Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway

The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway is looking forward to welcoming back the popular photographic charters organised by David Williams.  On the 5th and 6th October the popular combination of No.822 THE EARL along with the period goods train will be in service, whilst 7th October will feature No.12 JOAN and an assortment of ex Zillertalbahn carriages.  Further details and contact details for bookings can be found here.

 

8th August 

Evesham Vale Light Railway 

The new children's play fort at Evesham Vale opened today. Trains were hauled by MONTY, named after Simon de Montfort, to commemorate the 750th Anniversary of the Battle of Evesham this weekend.

 

3rd August

Ffestiniog Railway

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Today marks the 60th anniversary of the first steam hauled passenger service on the reopened Ffestiniog Railway in 1955. Then, PRINCE hauled carriage 23 and van 12 just a mile across the Cob embankment from Porthmadog Harbour Station.

Today, the 152 year old loco re-enacted its historic run, this time with the help of Single Fairlie TALIESIN, with a ten carriage train (pictured above crossing Cei Mawr by Andrew Thomas). The pair will be double heading the 1010 and 1335 services on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

 

2nd August

Talyllyn Railway

Over the weekend of 7 - 9 August the Talyllyn Railway is continuing its 150th anniversary celebrations with the 1865 - 2015 Gala. This will start on Friday 7 August 2015 with a special family activity day themed around a well-known childhood favourite, which is also celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, Lewis Carroll's 'Alice in Wonderland'.

On the Saturday the railway is holding an engineering day, offering people the chance to go behind the scenes at Pendre workshops. There will be a special shuttle service from Tywyn Wharf throughout the day to get people to and from the Works. In addition, at Tywyn Wharf there will be a demonstration of tracklaying, showing the techniques used to keep the track in good repair. During the day different types of engineering train will be run along the line, in addition to a regular passenger service. At 5.20 pm there will be a different train departing from Tywyn Wharf - 'The Breezy Special' will feature all the railway's open carriages in one train, and will offer passengers the chance to get the wind in their hair as they travel up and down the line.

On the Sunday the railway will be holding a 1920s day, including a 'Farmers' Special' mixed train departing in the morning at 11.10 am, which will deliver and collect different types of goods and produce up and down the line, just as it did in the 1920s. This train has been recreated using information from the railway's archives to produce an authentic range of goods which the railway carried. In the afternoon another 1920s mixed train will be run, and anyone coming in 1920s costume can ride for free all day on the Sunday. The Gala will formally conclude with the running of the 'Old and New Special'. This will be hauled by the railway's oldest and newest steam locomotives No. 1 TALYLLYN and No.7 TOM ROLT, and will include some of railway original carriages as well as some of its modern coaches.

Throughout the weekend the annual Mini-Beer festival will also be taking place at Tywyn Wharf station. This will feature a wide range of different brews, which will be available every day and into the evenings. 

 

30th July

Lynton & Barnstaple Railway

The L&B revivalists have set up a separate company to buy the old Blackmoor station, now popular pub and restaurant complex 'The Old Station Inn'. Whilst the complex is not for sale, the current owner is amenable to selling to the Trust. Should permission be granted to reinstate the railway to Blackmoor, there will be a slight deviation to the west so that the profitable hospitality business can be maintained. The headquarters of the line's operation would move to Blackmoor from Woody Bay, with a new shed being constructed off the running line, which in turn would free the running line north of Woody Bay for potential future extensions towards Lynton.

 

28th July

Ffestiniog Railway

The  Shrewsbury Flower Show – claimed to be the world’s longest-running flower show - takes place on the 14th & 15th August this year and joining in the celebrations will be a steam locomotive nearly as old.

LILLA, from the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railway in North Wales, was built in Leeds in 1891 and celebrates her 124th birthday this year. She will be in steam as part of the railway’s exhibit at Shrewsbury. But alongside the venerable loco, the centrepiece of the railway's presence will be a brand new £250,000 Pullman observation carriage built in the railway's own workshops. The carriage - yet to be named - carries the number 150 to mark the 150th anniversary of passenger services on the Ffestiniog Railway and will be used as the press office for the duration of the show, promoting both the railway and North Wales in general.

 

27th July

Ffestiniog Railway

On August 3rd, 1955, the Ffestiniog Railway's PRINCE hauled its first passenger train of the restoration era, comprising carriages 23 (now in regular use on the Welsh Highland Railway) and 12. It entered regular passenger service two days later.

 

To mark the 60th anniversary of this landmark in steam preservation, the 152 year-old loco (complete with flags) will double head the 1010 and 1335 departures from Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog on Monday 3rd, Tuesday 4th and Wednesday 5th August as an added bonus to the Summer of Fun celebrations. Double heading is required because these days, two carriages simply aren't enough and ten is rather more than the 'Old Gent' can manage on its own…

 

24th July

Westonzoyland Engine Trust

Portillo visit 1 NGNet

Michael Portillo had a ride on a smaller railway than he is normally used to in early July when he visited Westonzoyland pumping station during filming for a new series of Great British Railway Journeys, this one covering Birmingham to Exeter. He rode from the woodpile at the end of the line to the boiler cabin before visiting the 1861 pumping engine for a part of the programme about how the victorians drained the Somerset Levels. Photo by Alan Davies via Andy Carter

23rd July

Lynton & Barnstaple Railway

Clearance of vegetation has exposed the surviving stumps of the original railway's rail-built up home signal alongside the shed at Woody Bay.

North Gloucestershire Railway

SENA 15 has left Toddington after being sold to a new owner in Belgium.

CHAKA entered service at the June 'Thomas' weekend, along with SENA 15, and worked well. After being used for a private visit in early July, CHAKA was in charge of train services for the Bus Rally day on 12 July. It is now receiving more maintenance and will also undergo further repainting.

BRYNEGLWYS, the Simplex diesel, has had a repaint, now looks very smart, and is ready for service. Its first public duties are scheduled for the GWSR Diesel Gala, along with the Hunslet diesel. Steam will be represented by Brigadelok 1091 on the Saturday and Sunday of the Diesel Gala. All subject to availability.

JUSTINE will be going to Apedale for the month of September, before returning to Toddington for our end of season steam up on 3 and 4 October.

Passenger trains will run on the following Wednesdays - 29 July; 5, 12, 19 and 26 August. First train is at Noon and then every thirty minutes, with the last departing at 15.30. These will usually be diesel-hauled.

22nd July

Snowdon Mountain Railway

The SMR has been named as a finalist in the UK Heritage Attraction category at the 2015 British Travel Awards (BTA)The British Travel Awards are the largest consumer voted programme in the UK with more than 1.25 million votes cast last year to determine the winners. People have until 30 September to cast their vote by visiting www.britishtravelawards.com/aco-7.php with the winners announced at the BTA Gala Awards Dinner, being held in London on 25 November 2015.

Whipsnade Steam Railway

The Ferrier family from Marston Moretaine had an extra special day out at Whipsnade Zoo on 20th July, when they were surprised with a once-in-a-lifetime animal experience and hamper of memorable gifts for buying the 5 millionth ticket to ride on the Zoo’s steam railway.

 

Whipsnade Steam Railway, which first opened in 1970 to transport the Zoo’s visitors to the rhino enclosure, was opened in its current form by Princess Margaret in 1973. For the past 42 years, the Zoo’s engines, including EXCELSIOR (1908) and SUPERIOR (1920), have been transporting visitors on a loop around the Zoo’s Asia section.

 

21st July

Corris Railway

A sight not seen in the Dulas Valley since 1930 will appear once more on Sunday September 6th when the Corris Railway’s new carriage, number 22, will enter traffic on the revived section of the line between Corris station and Maespoeth Junction. Although the Corris has been running passenger trains for over a decade, to date its carriages have had elliptical roof lines. Number 22 will evoke memories of some of the original passenger vehicles on the old line by having a clerestory roof. Although the vehicle will have a Victorian external appearance it has been built to modern safety standards and has extra provision for passengers in wheelchairs.

At Maespoeth Junction visitors will be able to see work in progress on the next carriage being tackled by the volunteer team, number 23. Number 22 has had a previous public outing when it was taken as a “work in progress” to the Warley National Model Railway Exhibition at the NEC Birmingham in 2013, along with the Corris’ steam engine number 7. However the first chance to travel in it will be on September 6th when it will be part of the 11.00, 12.00, 13.00, 14.00 , 15.00 and 16.00 departures from Corris station. Passengers will also be able to look around the Railway’s Museum at Corris and amongst other exhibits see the work being done on the body of one of the original Corris carriages (not intended to be returned to traffic).

Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway

A very successful trial passenger service saw 100 passengers Park & Ride to the town's Art in the Park event despite locomotive problems causing late running for much of the day. Lots of lessons have been learnt during the trial - the 45 minute service was too ambitious, the location of the pop up station, Country Park Halt, needs reviewing and some form of platform is required to provide a level surface to step onto when alighting the train. The locomotive problems were largely related to the hot weather causing BARTON HALL to overheat.

Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway

The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway’s smallest steam locomotive will be a big star over the August Bank Holiday weekend, appearing at the Shrewsbury Steam Rally and travelling there in a very heritage manner. Andrew Barclay 0-4-0 tank locomotive DOUGAL will be taken from Welshpool to the rally site at Onslow Park, Shrewsbury, on a trailer hauled by a steam traction engine. Then on 5th September it will return to make a grand entrance at the railway’s own Steam Gala event. 

The plan is for DOUGAL to depart from the Llanfair Line’s Welshpool Raven Square station during the latter part of August, for the 15-mile trip to the rally site – the exact date and time of departure is still to be finalised but will be published in advance. Hauling the trailer will be no ordinary traction engine, but WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERER, a crane engine built in 1929 by the well-known manufacturer of steam locomotives for both road and rail, John Fowler.

Dougal will be on show throughout Sunday and Monday (30th-31st August) at the rally. Following the end of the rally DOUGAL will spend a week in secure storage near Welshpool, and then on the evening of Friday 4th September the loco will arrive back at Welshpool Raven Square. This time haulage will be provided by another Fowler steam road loco, FOREMOST, built in 1911. The combination will spend the night at Raven Square and then at about 9am on Saturday morning they will set off to travel to the other end of the railway at Llanfair Caereinion. On arrival, a journey that is expected to take around two hours, FOREMOST and DOUGAL will form a major part of the yard displays at Llanfair as part of the Gala, these displays also including a Sentinel steam lorry and a steam car.

20th July

Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway

It’s an SOS Film Night on Saturday and the usual train service on Sunday. Saturday’s SOS Film Night showing is 'Train of Events' – doors open at 6.30pm for the film at 7pm, the bar will be open 6.30-10pm. Tickets cost £5 each and are available from the box office on 01795 471140, online or at the door on the night at The Avenue Theatre, Central Avenue, Sittingbourne, Kent, ME10 4DN.

19th July

Amerton Railway

Operating considerations mean that the Diesel Gala has been rescheduled from 5th & 6th September as shown in the the printed timetable, to 3rd & 4th October 2015. The Diesel Gala will feature the line's collection of diesel locos, some of which are not usually seen on public running days.

15th July

Leighton Buzzard Railway

Everything Goes at the LBR on 26th July. Well, if it can go, it will, or at least as many as possible! The Railway’s large collection of steam, diesel, petrol and electric traction will be in operation and on display. A two train timetable will provide a frequent mixed traction service along the line, with additional shuttle services at both Pages Park and Stonehenge stations offering the opportunity to ride behind some of the less frequently seen locomotives.

A visiting attraction will be a rail version of the famous Model T Ford, which will be offering rides at Stonehenge. Expected in steam will be Great War veteran Baldwin 778 and the diminutive RISHRA and PETER PAN. One train will be steam hauled of diesel, petrol and electric locomotives in use.

Welsh Highland Heritage Railway

P7118777 NGNet

The WHHR held their 'Slate, Steam & Sail' gala over the weekend of 11/12 July. Visiting locos included new-build Hunslets STATFOLD and JACK LANE from Statfold Barn Railway and Britomart from the FR. The day was occupied with two passenger sets and a rake of slate wagons, (thought to be the first time STATFOLD or JACK LANE have been paired with such stock). Original WHR loco RUSSELL was also in service, though problems with the air pump meant that 62-year old veteran Ruston KINNERLEY was put into service to provide air. The photo shows an unusual triple-header of STATFOLD, RUSSELL and (just visible bottom right) KINNERLEY. Photo by Andy Carter

14th July

Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway

The following picture illustrates two potential news stories - the Real Ale Festival at the turn of the month, and the reasons for the SKLR's "Sort Out Sittingbourne" campaign. The photo shows SUPERB arriving at Sittingbourne on 4th July during the Real Ale Festival. Photo by Keith Frewin

IMG 1421 NGNet 

10th July 

Talyllyn Railway

 Steam150

Visiting for the Steam 150 event last weekend were 2ft gauge RUSSELL and PRINCE from the WHHR and FR. The two locos ran on specially laid track at Tywyn Wharf, as illustrated by this view of them alongside resident DOUGLAS at the coaling stage. Photo by Michael Chapman

7th July 

Kirklees Light Railway

It is confirmed that the visiting engines for the Annual Steam & Diesel Gala will be RIVER MITE from Ravenglass and DR SYN from the RH&DR. The Gala Weekend will take place on the 12th & 13th September and is themed "Made in Yorkshire".

6th July

Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway

The R&ER's 100th Anniversary celebrations on 28th - 31st August will feature visiting engines, including COUNT LOUIS, and SYNOLDA. A special timetable will be in place as these engines will top and tail a special service from Ravenglass to Muncaster Mill which is bookable in advance as part of a day ticket at £20 adult and £10 children (5-15). This ticket includes all day travel and a seat on these special trains as part of your day out, a commemorative badge and edmundson ticket and entry into our exclusive prize draw to win a day on the footplate. 

Talyllyn Railway

On Friday 3rd July 2015, at a special ceremony to mark the 150th Anniversary of the opening of the Talyllyn Railway, it was announced that the railway was backing a bid for World Heritage Status for the Welsh Slate Industry. The bid is being lead by Gwynedd Council, and has already been short-listed as one of the UK sites being considered for World Heritage Status.

The Slate Industry made a significant impact on the economic and environmental life of this part of Wales. Tens of thousands were employed in quarries throughout the area. Many communities in villages and towns across the region were created because of the industry, and its legacy continues on into the present day.

Part of the industrialisation of the area was the development of new transport systems and the pioneering of narrow-gauge railways was particularly significant in this process. The Talyllyn Railway played a significant role in gaining Parliamentary approval for narrow-gauge railways that carried not only slate, but passengers as well. 

5th July

Bala Lake Railway

Halfway through the year, and overall passenger figures are up by 14%, and income in the station café/shop is up by 35%. 

There has been one item of news in June which is particularly worthy of celebration. Bala Lake Railway Director and Chairman of the BLRTrust, Julian Birley, was awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to railway preservation. Unlike some honours, it is agreed that this was totally deserved, bearing in mind the enormous amount of effort that Julian has put in with the North Norfolk Railway over many years, and now with the BLR. As is known, Julian is leading the enormous task of getting the line across the River Dee and back into downtown Bala, a proposal which has been received with almost total unanimity in the area.

30th June

Golden Valley LR

After three months of stripping down, refurbishment of parts and fabrication of replacements for wasted items, assembly has now started of the first bogie to go under ex-Ffestiniog Railway Carriage 119. With the bogie substantially complete, a decision was taken to install it under Carriage 119, so that various tests and measurements could be taken.

28th June

Golden Valley LR

The GVLRA has announced the visit of Kerr Stuart Joffre Class 0-6-0 T+WT 3014 of 1916 from the Moseley Railway Trust.

It arrived at the GVLR on 10th June, and will remain until early September. The loco is expected to be in traffic for the Narrow Gauge Weekend 11th / 12th July; the Midland Rail-ex Event 15th / 16th August; and the August Bank Holiday Weekend (29th / 31st). Extra running dates may be announced (see website).

This is only the second time that a guest steam locomotive has appeared on GVLRA metals since the formal opening ceremony of the Running Shed way back in 2007.

Lynton & Barnstaple Railway

As part of several other national events the L&B’s 100-year-old ‘Joffre’ class AXE - built to carry troops and armaments to the trenches during the First World War - made several special journeys across the North Devon countryside in aid of the Haig Housing Trust fundraising campaign Coming Home, which raises much needed funds to buy and adapt houses for wounded servicemen and women.

The Coming Home charity made worldwide news last year as part of the team that organised the "Poppies in The Moat" appeal at the iconic Tower of London. The exhibition of 888,246 ceramic poppies raised millions for armed forces charities and was visited by millions of sightseers from around the world, including The Queen, Prince Philip, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Snowdon Mountain Railway

Normally, the combination of graffiti and trains evokes images of suburban scribbles sprawled across mainline train tracks- essentially vandalism. However, the combination of a skilled artist, an historic locomotive and a village community centre proved that “graffiti” really can be something spectacular!

As you may have heard, last week marked oldest locomotive, ENID’s, 120th year of service with a day of birthday style celebrations, raising funds for the Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team.

As if that wasn’t enough, the opportunity was taken to immortalise ENID by commissioning a Snowdon Mountain Railway mural in the Llanberis community centre. The mural now sits alongside stunning graffiti art pieces that represent the culture and history of the area.

26th June

Bure Valley Railway

The fares for the Steam Back In Time event on Friday, 10th July are being pegged at 1990 prices i.e. Adults £5.50 return, Children £3.95 return. Normal fares apply for the weekend event. All return fares allow for unlimited travel on the day of purchase. The visiting locos are WINSTON CHURCHILL and GREEN GODDESS from the RH&DR. All the available BVR fleet will be in action. There is double heading on the 10.45 ex Aylsham on all three days with WINSTON CHURCHILL and GREEN GODDESS. On the Saturday and Sunday the 13.53 from Wroxham will be double headed by WROXHAM BROAD and SPITFIRE.

Full details can be found on the BVR website.

Snowdon Mountain Railway

On Saturday 27th June the SMR will be celebrating 120 years of service from oldest locomotive, ENID with a day of fun - cake, face painting, prizes and more!

Welsh Highland Railway

Major components of NG/G16 Garratt 130 have been delivered to the Welsh Highland Railways workshop at Dinas, near Caernarfon. Two power units, the boiler cradle, bunker and water tank arrived by road from the Exmoor Steam Railway, having been acquired by Gloucester-based Steam Powered Services Limited at the end of 2014. The boiler is being assessed at the South Devon Railway boiler works. SPS intends to restore the locomotive to service with an anticipated first steaming date in the spring of 2018. The locomotive is expected to run on the 25 mile Welsh Highland Railway between Caernarfon and Porthmadog.

130 was last operational on the Port Shepstone-Harding branch in Natal and was withdrawn in 1985. It was imported for the proposed Whitby to Robin Hood's Bay Railway in the 1990s before being moved to the Exmoor Steam Railway. The locomotive was one of a batch of 12 built by the Manchester firm of Beyer Peacock in 1951 and exported to South Africa for use on the extensive two foot gauge railways of the Cape and Natal. The design dates from 1937 and various batches were made by four different manufacturers, with the last of the class being built in South Africa in 1968.

25th June

Launceston SR

At Easter it became apparent that LILIAN was feeling a little poorly around the slide valve chest on her cylinders. This area was last thoroughly looked at when she was restored from scrap 49 years ago and so those repairs have lasted well! The 1960s repairs were also completed in a workshop with very limited facilities; for example, with no milling machine a new port face plate fitted to her left hand cylinder was cut out by chain drilling and then filing by hand. Sufficient repairs have now taken place to ensure LILIAN runs well through the summer this year, but it is possible that the cylinders will be looked at again this winter when LILIAN's boiler is lifted off for a major overhaul.

COVERTCOAT has also seen some work recently. For over a decade she has had a twin cylinder steam engine with belt drive to a compressor fitted on her footplate to provide air for the train brakes. This has now been replaced by an air pump fitted in front of her cab. This pump is one of a number built by the Talyllyn Railway; the design is based on the pump designed, built and fitted to LILIAN by owner Nigel Bowman, but with a number of modifications made to the design by the Talyllyn Railway after they took on production of the pumps. This particular pump was delivered several years ago and was originally intended to be fitted to DOROTHEA, but it was felt this would spoil the aim to restore DOROTHEA to original appearance.

23rd June

Leighton Buzzard Railway

Greensand Railway Museum Trust’s efforts to urgently raise £10,000 towards the overhaul of Baldwin 4-6-0T War Department Light Railway No. 778 (BLW 44656/1917) have received a massive boost – every donation will now be worth double thanks to a generous benefactor. No sooner had the appeal to ensure No. 778 was fully overhauled and back in action for crucial 100th anniversaries in 2016 been launched than the charitable trust which owns the locomotive received a fantastic offer to match every £1 raised by another £1. If GRMT can raise £5,000 this will be matched by a £5,000 donation by the generous benefactor and the Trust will have the £10,000 it needs to commission all required overhaul work on the iconic locomotive.

Current planning envisages No. 778 being withdrawn in September, just after bowing out at Leighton Buzzard Railway’s annual gala event, and sent to contractors. Hopefully donations and the £1 for £1 will have raised sufficient money to cover mechanical works to the motion, including replacing worn crankpins, as well as the boiler overhaul.

Donations can be sent to The Greensand Railway Museum Trust,c/o Page’s Park Station, Billington Road, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire LU7 4TN. Gift Aid enabling tax to be reclaimed would boost the value of the donation by 25%.

For every donation of £100 or more the donor will be offered a footplate ride around the loop at Page’s Park. For every donation of £500 or more donors can travel on the footplate over the length of the LBR line to Stonehenge Works!

22nd June

Moseley Railway Trust

The Moseley Railway Trust is delighted to announce the release of a new departure for the Apedale site. Building on the infrastructure and vehicle restorations completed for the award-winning 2014 “Tracks to the Trenches” event, the Trust can now offer a Driver Experience day – with a difference.

Phil Robinson, Trust Chairman, explains “Many heritage railways offer Driver Experience days; we offer an immersive Military Railway Day. Participants are transported back in time nearly 100 years to northern France during 1917, where they sign-up with the 6th Light Railway Operating Company. After instruction, participants are given a series of challenges which the must meet by driving both steam and diesel locomotives around the railway network at Apedale. This network, of course, includes a replica First World War trench amongst the many possible destinations.”

Perhaps fortunately, the outcome of a major European war does not hang in the balance this time – but participants in the Driver Experience should gain a real insight into military railways in the First World War – and have a lot of fun at the same time! The degree of authenticity can be tailored to suit participant’s wishes. For example, some may wish to have their midday meal as hard tack biscuits and a mess can full of tea in the Trench. Others may opt for the rather more comfortable option of a hot meal in the adjacent Café.

The Driver Experience can also tailored dependant on the previous experience and preferences of participants – within reason, most things can be arranged. Further details, and a downloadable leaflet with full details, are available at www.ww1-event.org, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 0845 094 1953.

Welshpool & Llanfair LR

The Statfold Barn Railway’s Orenstein & Koppel 0-4-4-0T Mallet locomotive PAKIS BARU No. 5 is to visit the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway this summer, appearing as the star attraction at the mid Wales line’s annual Gala.

The 2ft 6in gauge loco, built in 1905 and repatriated from an Indonesian sugar mill by Statfold in 2004, is one of only two examples of a Mallet in a gauge above 10.25in currently working in the UK, the other 2ft gauge example also at Statfold. PAKIS BARU is scheduled to be in operation throughout the Gala, on 5th-6th September, working several demonstration trains and playing a major part in the traditional Saturday evening photography session, which this year will be choreographed, at Llanfair Caereinion.

The visiting locomotive is just one of a number of innovations at the W&LLR’s annual enthusiast event, with several new items planned alongside the most popular regular happenings that have long made the Gala so popular. A team of W&LLR staff and volunteers has recently refurbished the run-round loop at Cyfronydd station, which will allow a much more intensive timetable including freight and mixed trains. The loop will also be used by a photographers’ special, to be hauled by Kerr Stuart 0-6-2T JOAN (4404/1927) which will drop snappers off at Heniarth halt and Cyfronydd station in time to catch run-pasts by the heritage mixed trains, returning them to Llanfair afterwards.

Welshpool Raven Square station will play a major role in the event – Kitson-Meyer 0-4-4-0T MONARCH (3024/1953) will be on show outside as will the line’s Sierra Leone Railway bogie carriages, forming the backdrop to a display by the Sierra Leone National Railway Museum’s UK support group. The space released in the display shed will be occupied by a ‘Little Layouts’ model railway exhibition. There will also be traders present at Welshpool.

More stands will be found at Llanfair where the workshops will be open with stands and displays within, while conducted tours will be undertaken of the line’s Tanllan yard and stock shed, normally not accessible to the public. And stock not normally seen in action on a public day will be demonstrated, including the ex-MOD railcar THE WASP and Hunslet mines loco FERRET, which moved under its own power for the first time in several years on 31st May. A Real ale bar and refreshments will be open throughout the weekend.

The W&LLR is also promising a special and highly photogenic event involving its currently out-of-use Barclay 0-4-0T DOUGAL (2207/1946), the precise nature of which will be revealed closer to the event.

As previously, the Gala will coincide with the separate-entry Garden Railway Show at Llanfair Leisure Centre. A free bus service will run between Llanfair station and the Garden Railway Show.

Site entry to Llanfair will cost £3 per car – parking at Welshpool will be free.

Full details of the Gala and the timetable will be published on the railway’s website, www.wllr.org.uk, where discounted online tickets will be able to be pre-booked. Updates will also appear on the W&LLR Facebook page www.facebook.com/WelshpoolSteamRailway. For more information contact the railway on 01938 810441.

Lea Bailey LR

Forest Narrow Gauge 2015

19th & 20th September Open Days at the Lea Bailey - See what this group has achieved in three years. The site will be open from 11am to 4pm with two resident and two visiting locos operating.

On the same day there will be a working loco at the nearby Hopewell Colliery museum, and at Clearwell Caves the underground incline will be working with other locos on static display. The 15” gauge Perrygrove Railway will also be having a Gala Weekend with at least one visiting loco.

15th June

Sittingbourne & Kemsley LR

It was a busy weekend at Sittingbourne's Steam Railway - a concrete pour in the engine shed and Community Day - and this weekend looks to be just as busy with Sittingbourne Carnival, SOS Film Night and even trains! Saturday morning saw a dozen volunteers working hard to spread concrete in the engine shed at Kemsley Down. There are two tracks into the engine shed, the left one had a shallow pit for working under the engines and the right one, a deep pit for the same tasks. The left pit fell into disuse as it was too shallow to carry out much of the work so over the last couple of years it has been filled in and now, finally, concreted.

On Sunday, the Railway held its second Community event which saw, Sittingbourne Sea Cadets, Sittingbourne Heritage Museum, Kent Community Rail Partnership, Sittingbourne Maritime Cadets, Friends of Milton Creek Country Park, the Railway and local community radio stations (BRFM & SFM) represented. The Sea Cadets brought along a climbing wall which was used to great effect during the afternoon and some of the cadets even tried out the Railway's pump trolley.

This weekend, Saturday evening sees the SOS Film Night with Sean Connery as James Bond in 'From Russia with Love', this is the remastered Blu-Ray version so it should be better quality than the original cinema release! Profit made through ticket sales will be donated to the Railway's SOS (Sort Out Sittingbourne) Appeal and bar profits go to the event hosts, The Avenue Theatre, Central Avenue, Sittingbourne. The film starts at 7pm, all tickets cost £5 and are available from the box office in advance or at the door on the day. Doors open at 6.30pm and the bar will be open throughout and after the movie. There is free parking outside the theatre or at the library.

11th June

Westonzoyland Pumping Station

May's Steam on The Levels event saw the new passing loop on the railway brought into service for crossing passenger and fuel trains and making the operation of the railway more flexible.

Two passenger coaches have been acquired for the railway. One, a bogie coach seating approx 12, was originally built in the 1970s for a 2ft gauge line at Creekmoor, Poole, on the former S&D trackbed and was obtained from the Cleethorpes Coast LR at Grimsby. The second 'manrider' coach was originally purchased for a proposed NG railway project in France but has languished at Bala for several years. Both coaches require a considerable amount of work, fitting of brakes, bodywork etc. however the bogies have already been refurbished and it is hoped to have that coach ready for the Wzlet railway gala on August Bank Holiday.

Welsh Highland Railway

The FR/WHR recently suffered damage from a car which left the road on the curve at Pont Croesor. The young driver had only passed his test the previous week and had borrowed his mother's car when he lost control on the sharp bend at the end of Pont Croesor Bridge and struck two location cabinets causing damage estimated at £20k. Due to the damage, trains were having to be hand signalled across the crossing.

North Gloucestershire Railway

CHAKA will be ready for operation once adjustments have been made to the braking system. As it is larger than our other locos, a lot of cutting back on the lineside has been done to enable safe passage, still a bit more to do.

The Simplex diesel has had outstanding maintenance done. It is now receiving attention to the paintwork and should be ready to run very soon.

The May steam gala saw SENA 15 and 1091 in operation over the very successful three day weekend, with ten trains run each day.

JUSTINE is diagrammed to work during the Classic Vehicles day on 14 June. SENA 15 will be in operation on the Thomas weekend of 20/21 June, along with another loco, probably 1091.

The faithful Hunslet diesel has been showing signs of strain lately, failing on two consecutive Sundays while working the passenger service. It was quickly mended on 31 May, with only one train cancelled, but on 7 June ran just two trains, with repairs completed the following day.

9th June

Corris Railway

The Corris Railway will be staging its annual Model Railway Exhibition at Y Plas in Machynlleth on August Bank Holiday Weekend 29th to 31st and once again there will be the usual eclectic mixture of layouts in a number of scales and gauges.

Narrow gauge is, not unexpectedly, to the fore with layouts including one based on the Isle of Man Steam Railway in 4 mm scale recreating part of the closed Peel to Douglas section, a small 009 set up, plus “Cwm Aber” depicting a Welsh seaside village and its 009 line, and in contrast a 32 mm layout built especially for the Exhibition using radio control in a small area. Another 16 mm layout, “Walmer Bridge”, will feature live steam and some battery powered diesel locomotive models.

For those interested in nostalgia and vintage models there is a variety of attractions including layouts featuring a mixture of Hornby Dublo and Tri-ang products, another with Trix Twin in operation and a further one with the French Hornby Acho models in action. Moving up to O gauge there will be both vintage clockwork and electric Hornby trains at work. Playmobil trains strike a lighter note and here children are encouraged to have a go at operating them as an introduction to the hobby.

Representing modern O gauge “The Refuelling Point” is a compact layout depicting part of a modern marshalling yard with diesel locomotives and the ever popular OO gauge has another diesel depot layout “Charleston Road”. Also flying the 00 flag is “Marks End”, set in the Pennines. HO has a West Virginia coal line in the 1950’s “Haysi number 2” and “Schmal” based on German and Austrian railways between 1902 and 1962. Trams are represented by “Charleroi”, showing part of the Vicinal operations in Belgium.

There will also be demonstrations of modelling and model engineering crafts and trade stands including the Corris’ own retail one and the fund-raising stand for Corris Number 10, the latest steam engine which is under construction for the line. Back by popular demand from many regular visitors is Kate Packham’s jewellery and other items made from recycled glass in the main. Refreshments and light snacks are available.

The Exhibition is open from 10.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. on each of the three days and admission is £4.00 adults, £3.50 seniors, £2.00 children and £10.00 for a family of 2 adults/seniors and 2 children.

The Corris Railway will be running its steam train services from Corris station on all three days with the first departure from Corris at 11.00 a.m. and the last at 4.00 p.m.

6th June

Ffestiniog Railway

In 2013, the Ffestiniog Railway put the world’s oldest surviving narrow gauge steam locomotive,Princess, on show at London’s Paddington Station to mark its 150th birthday. The visit proved a great success, the loco being admired by thousands of people each day. This year, the pioneering Welsh line is celebrating 150 years of passenger services. To mark the occasion, brand new Pullman observation carriage 150 will be on display on platforms 8 & 9 at London Paddington from the 8th-27th June inclusive.

The carriage is a development of Welsh Highland Pullman observation car Glaslyn, named by the Queen in 2010 and will spend most of this year touring the UK to promote the railway before entering service in 2016. The name of the carriage has yet to be announced.

A spell of dry weather during October allowed work to go ahead with
work on the deviation works required as part of the southwards extension 
of the Corris Railway from its present terminus at Maespoeth Junction. 
Using earthmoving equipment over 100 metres of trackbed was levelled 
and preparations towards eventual track laying progressed. There is still a 
gap in the eventual route between Maespoeth and the new section as work 
continues to deal with the culvert at Pont y Goedwig.

9th January

Ffestiniog Railway - PRINCESS to Kings Cross

From February 12th to 21st, England PRINCESS will make only its second visit to the city of its birth since leaving for Porthmadog in 1863, when it will be displayed on the western concourse of Kings Cross station promoting the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways (its first visit was a similar outing to Paddington in 2013).

With the recent purchase of two steel-bodied carriages from the Ffestiniog Railway, the GVLR had an urgent reqiurement for bogies to sit them on.

Help needed to complete restoration of unique WW1 locomotive for its 100th birthday party

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