Blue ‘King’ and ap­ple green ‘B12’ STAR IN SEV­ERN VAL­LEY GALA

Prepa­ra­tions were ‘hec­tic’, but big names and au­then­tic pair­ings defy the un­sea­sonal weather in SVR’s first main event of the year.

Steam Railway (UK) - - News | Focus -

ABR blue ‘King’ on GWR stock, and an Ap­ple green ‘B12’ on teaks, were the colour­ful high­lights of the Sev­ern Val­ley Rail­way’s Spring Steam Gala on March 16-18. Ar­riv­ing at the SVR by road on Fe­bru­ary 22, the Great Western Society’s No. 6023 King Ed­ward II was vis­it­ing the line for loaded test runs, fol­low­ing mod­i­fi­ca­tions to its cut-down sin­gle chim­ney and blast­pipe to over­come steam­ing prob­lems. It pro­vided the first op­por­tu­nity to pair No. 6023 with a full-length train of GWR-liv­er­ied Col­lett and Hawksworth stock – a typ­i­cal com­bi­na­tion rep­re­sent­ing the 1949-52 pe­riod, when BR ex­press pas­sen­ger blue was ap­plied to the ‘Kings’ but many car­riages re­mained in Big Four-era liv­ery. The sec­ond au­then­tic pair­ing of the event, that of the Mid­land & Great North­ern Joint Rail­way Society’s ‘B12’ No. 8572 with the SVR’s Gresley teak set, was a 20-year first – the North Nor­folk Rail­way-based 4-6-0 hav­ing last vis­ited the ‘Val­ley’ for the au­tumn gala of 1998. How­ever, a sec­ond LNER 4-6-0 – Thomp­son ‘B1’ No. 1264 – did not make its planned ap­pear­ance, newly re­painted in LNER black, be­cause its win­ter main­te­nance was not com­pleted in time. A last­minute re­place­ment was found in Som­er­set & Dorset ‘7F’ 2-8-0 No. 53808, which was di­verted to the SVR dur­ing its road move­ment home to the West Som­er­set Rail­way, fol­low­ing its ap­pear­ance at the Keigh­ley & Worth Val­ley Rail­way gala (see sep­a­rate story). The at­ten­dance of the third LNER-de­sign en­gine on the guest list – Pep­per­corn ‘A1’ No. 60163 Tor­nado – also looked to be in jeop­ardy at the eleventh hour, when it was trapped at the North York­shire Moors Rail­way by a skip lorry strik­ing a bridge near Castle­ton Moor and clos­ing the Esk Val­ley line (see sep­a­rate story). A low-loader move­ment was ar­ranged in­stead, de­liv­er­ing the ‘Pacific’ to Bridg­north just the day be­fore the gala. “The week be­fore was a bit hec­tic,” summed up Lewis Mad­dox, the rail­way’s events co­or­di­na­tor, who paid trib­ute to the “amaz­ing effort that our vol­un­teers and staff put in to en­sure that the gala could run with one of the best line-ups we’ve had.” Amidst all the celebrity main line vis­i­tors was a vet­eran in­dus­trial – 1874-built Hay­dock Foundry 0-6-0WT Bellerophon, work­ing lo­cal trains be­tween Bewd­ley and Kid­der­min­ster. Re­call­ing the SVR’s own his­tory was for­mer Shrews­bury BR ‘4MT’ 2-6-4T No. 80072, in one of its last ap­pear­ances there be­fore re­turn­ing to its Llan­gollen Rail­way base. With such a cast of big lo­co­mo­tives, the SVR fielded only three tank en­gines from the home fleet – ‘14XX’ 0-4-2T No. 1450 and pan­nier tanks Nos. 1501 and 7714, in dou­ble-headed com­bi­na­tions. De­spite its ‘Spring’ moniker, the gala felt more like win­ter, with flur­ries of snow on the Satur­day turn­ing into heav­ier falls by the Sun­day. Said Mr Mad­dox: “Fri­day and Satur­day went with­out a hitch, but the snow caused de­lays on the Sun­day, although ev­ery train did run. Frozen points at Kid­der­min­ster de­layed the early morn­ing empty stock move­ments from the sid­ings into the plat­forms, and sta­tion pi­lot No. 1501 was hav­ing brake is­sues. “We haven’t got pas­sen­ger num­bers yet, but the snow won’t have helped – hope­fully they will be re­spectable.” Fur­ther steam­ings for the ‘King’ are planned for April and May (see panel) while Bellerophon will be in ser­vice dur­ing the ‘Open House Week­end’ of April 7/8. ●● North York­shire Moors Rail­way­based ‘Q6’ 0-8-0 No. 63395 is con­firmed for the SVR’s Au­tumn Steam Gala of Septem­ber 20-23, celebrating its cen­te­nary along with res­i­dent GWR ‘28XX’ 2-8-0 No. 2857. Stanier ‘Princess Coronation’ No. 6233 Duchess of Suther­land is also booked.

KARL HEATH

vet­eran Hay­dock Foundry 0‑6‑0Wt Bellerophon ap­proaches Fo­ley park tun­nel with a lo­cal train from Bewd­ley to Kid­der­min­ster on March 16.

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