STEAM GALAS GALORE! IT’S THE BUSIEST WEEKEND OF 2018 WHAT WAS RUNNING WHERE
Over 40 engines across nine events bring curtain down on summer season.
The weekend of September 29/30 was the busiest this year, with over 40 locomotives in action across the country (see panel).
The Lynton & Barnstaple, North Yorkshire Moors, Tyseley Locomotive Works and West Somerset railways’ autumn steam galas grabbed the headlines (see separate stories), but a number of other lines also got in on the action.
Capping off a successful year, with trains now running as far as Bridge 6 in its bid to reconnect with the main line at Alnmouth, the Aln Valley Railway held its ‘End of Season’ gala. Both the line’s resident operational steam locomotives were running – 1917-built Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0T Richboro (Works No. 1243) and 1948-built Hunslet ‘Austerity’ 0-6-0ST NCB No. 60 (Works No. 3686).
The Middleton Railway marked the 50th anniversary of the closure of the last colliery on the line with a ‘Last Coals to Leeds’-themed gala. Two of the line’s locomotives – Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0ST Slough Estates No. 3 and Manning Wardle 0-6-0ST ‘Matthew Murray’ – took on new identities to pay tribute to engines which worked the colliery system in pre-preservation days; becoming Works No. 1871 Blenkinsop and 1906-built Forward respectively.
They were joined by ‘Austerity’ 0-6-0ST Wimblebury, from the Foxfield Railway.
Another Hudswell Clarke was the star of the show at the Ribble Steam Railway’s autumn gala – Illingworth/Mitchell. The former Nidd Valley Railway locomotive starred alongside the RSR’s own Grant Ritchie 0-4-0ST No. 61 – which had recently returned to the line following a period on hire to the Telford Steam Railway – Hawthorn Leslie 0-6-0ST Stewart & Lloyds No. 21 ‘Linda’ and Bagnall 0-6-0ST Works No. 2680 ‘Courageous’.
The Lynton & Barnstaple Railway was not the only narrow gauge line holding an event that weekend. On the other side of the country, the Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway’s ‘End of Season’ gala featured resident Kerr Stuart 0-4-2STs Leader and Melior, and Bagnall 0-6-2ST Superb – the latter having returned from its visit to the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway (see Narrow Gauge News).