This month’s edition of Steam Railway features an EXCLUSIVE interview with Sir Peter Hendy – the chairman of Network Rail.
In Part One of our exclusive interview with the NR head, Sir Peter outlines his passion for steam and how the national network will provide a safe haven for main line steam in the future.
From the future to the past, as in another interview, we speak to legendary main line driver Gordon Hodgson, who recalls nearly six decades on the footplate. The concluding part of this fascinating insight into his footplate life will be published in a future edition.
Elsewhere, a former Shadow Secretary and current MP calls for the NRM to answer our questions about its disposal of the ‘T3’ to Swanage, while the museum unveils its plans for a radical shake-up of the Great Hall.
There’s also full coverage of the ‘Great Britain X’ and why Union of South Africa failed to attend, as well as plans for Oliver Cromwell to take part in a 1968-themed gala next year.
You can read all this and more in the latest edition of Steam Railway – the world’s biggest selling steam magazine. On sale now!
Poland is once again the only country in the world to boast regular main line scheduled steam services, with the first timetabled steam-hauled services for three years running on May 15.
Polish 2-6-2 Ol49-59 had the honour of hauling the first train, the 06.25 from Wolsztyn to Leszno, which according to former Steam Railway editor and Down Main correspondent, Tony Streeter, ran to capacity.
Members of the Polish media were there to record an event and a celebratory ceremony was held at the Wolsztyn depot before the departure of the first train.
Timetabled steam-hauled main line passenger services were once a regular feature on the country’s railways, attracting a large number of tourists from the UK and overseas, but they ceased running on March 31 2014. Coincidentally, Ol49-59 was the locomotive that worked the last train.
The 2-6-2 is expected to be joined on the roster by ‘Mikado’ Pt47-65, which will enter the fray on May 20 taking trains between Wolsztyn and Poznan.
There will be two trains a day serving Wolsztyn and Lezno Monday-Friday, with trains working the route to Poznan on Saturdays.
For a full report, read the next edition of Steam Railway (SR468), on sale June 16.
Maunsell ‘Schools’ class 4-4-0 No. 926 Repton has been announced as the first visiting locomotive for the Severn Valley Railway’s ‘Autumn Steam Gala’ on September 21-24.
The locomotive is one of up to four visiting locomotives planned for the SVR’s three-day event, although the identity of further visitors has not been revealed.
Repton will be making its second visit to the 16-mile railway, albeit the first in the new Southern Railway olive green livery being applied to the 4-4-0, which is currently approaching the end of its ten-year overhaul at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. The first time No. 926 visited the SVR was for the line’s 2004 Autumn Steam Gala.
All-night running will make a welcome return to the three-day event. The popular feature was dropped from last year’s gala, as the traditional September slot had been taken by the line’s ‘Pacific Power’ event, which saw the first meeting of ‘A3’ No. 60103 Flying Scotsman and ‘A1’ No. 60163 Tornado in preservation.
The ‘Autumn Steam Gala’ was replaced in 2016 by the ‘End of Season Finale’ event which took place in November.
GWR ‘Manor’ No. 7812 Erlestoke Manor will be making its last gala appearance at this year’s event, as the Collett 4-6-0 is due to be withdrawn for its ten-year overhaul. The locomotive’s boiler ‘ticket’ expires on December 31 this year (see SR467 Roster).
The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway’s forthcoming ‘Cotswold Festival of Steam’ has lost one visitor but gained another, as ‘7F’ No. 53808 will be replaced by BR Standard ‘4MT’ No. 76017.
The Somerset & Dorset Railway 2-8-0 had been announced as a replacement for another visiting engine which subsequently had to pull out – Great Central Railway-based ‘Black Five’ No. 45305.
However, due to the failure of another locomotive at the ‘7F’s’ West Somerset Railway home, No. 53808 can no longer attend the May 27-29 gala, as it is required to cover the WSR’s bank holiday services.
Fortunately, the GWSR has managed to secure the services of ‘Standard Four’ No. 76017, courtesy of the Mid-Hants Railway. It will not only mark the 2-6-0’s debut over the Cheltenham-Toddington line, but it is believed that the Riddles ‘Mogul’ will be the first ‘76XXX’ to operate over the route in preservation.
The railway does have a resident BR Standard ‘4MT’, No. 76077, which is currently awaiting restoration and is the only one of the four survivors of the class not to have steamed in preservation.
No. 76017 brings the total of visiting engines at the three-day event up to three, in addition to Churnet Valley Railway-based ‘S160’ No. 6046 and ‘14XX’ No. 1450 courtesy of the Severn Valley Railway. It had previously been hoped to have four visiting locomotives at the gala.
Five of the railway’s own fleet will be in action at the gala: ‘28XX’ 2-8-0 No. 2807, ‘42XX’ 2-8-0T No. 4270, ‘Manor’ No. 7820 Dinmore Manor, ‘Modified Hall’ No. 7903 Foremarke Hall and ‘Merchant Navy’ No. 35006 Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co.
Money raised by the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway’s ‘Broadway – The last Mile’ share issue has exceeded the railway’s £1.25 million target – by £80,000.
Launched on April 6 last year, the GWSR’s share offer aimed to raise £1.25 million for the railway’s 3-mile long northern extension to the Cotswold village, including the construction of the new station.
According to the railway’s Financial Director, Chris Bristow, the target was reached on April 4, three weeks before the share offer closed on April 30, with the final amount raised by the share issue standing at £1,330,000.
However, the GWSR still requires an extra £200k to fund additional repairs to the section of embankment between Childswickham Road and Broadway in order to stabilise a long-standing slip, estimated to cost £400,000 (SR465).
Mr Bristow says: “We budgeted £80k originally and we have overshot the share issue by £80k. The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway Trust has promised £120k so the other funds will have to come out of our strategic cash reserve.”
The cost of these repairs could delay other projects on the GWSR’s. Mr Bristow said: “Our next projects are a new steam locomotive department building like the brilliant new(ish) facility for our C&W department and a new S&T workshop. How quickly we get on with these depends on our cash position next Easter when Broadway is finally open.”
Nevertheless, Mr Bristow predicts that the railway’s passengers will grow by 20% as “a worst-case scenario” once Broadway opens on March 30 next year.
“Our railway will connect Cheltenham to Broadway, on an optimum length of line of 15 miles, taking our passengers through some of Britain’s most beautiful scenery.
“I think Broadway will open a new chapter in the GWSR’s history.”