July 9 – all the Southern steam celebrations

A number of special events are being held on July 9 to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of steam on the Southern Region. Here are the full details.

‘Merchant Navy’ No. 35006 Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co will be making its first visit away from its home on the ‘GlosWarks’ at the Mid-Hants’ ‘Summer Gala’ on July 1/2 and 7-9. It is pictured here making its gala debut at the GWSR’s ‘Cotswold Festival of Steam’ event on May 29 2016. THOMAS BRIGHT/SR

‘Merchant Navy’ No. 35006 Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co will be making its first visit away from its home on the ‘GlosWarks’ at the Mid-Hants’ ‘Summer Gala’ on July 1/2 and 7-9. It is pictured here making its gala debut at the GWSR’s ‘Cotswold Festival of Steam’ event on May 29 2016. THOMAS BRIGHT/SR

Mid-Hants Railway – Five guest engines have been confirmed for the ‘Watercress Line’s’ ‘Summer Gala’ on July 1/2 and 7-9, including four Bulleid ‘Pacifics’. These are:

·      ‘West Country’ No. 34046 Braunton (running as 1967 survivor ‘Battle of Britain’ No. 34052 Lord Dowding, July 1/2 only. Hauling 'End of Southern Steam' railtour on July 8 - see below)
·      ‘BB’ No. 34053 Sir Keith Park
·      ‘BB’ No. 34081 92 Squadron
·      ‘Merchant Navy’ No. 35006 Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co (making its first visit away from the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway)
·      BR Standard ‘4MT’ No. 80078 (making its first gala appearance since the completion of its recent overhaul)

Swanage Railway The ‘Purbeck Line’ is hosting a one-day mini-gala on July 9, dubbed ‘Southern Sunrise’, fielding at least three of its operational steam fleet:

·      ‘M7’ No. 30053
·      ‘BB’ No. 34070 Manston
·      BR Standard ‘4MT’ No. 80104 (running as No. 80146, the last steam locomotive to work over the line before it closed in 1972)

The railway will also be running its timetabled Swanage-Wareham services, top-and-tailed with West Coast Railways diesels and the railway’s own Class 33 No. D6515.

Bluebell Railway – Visiting ‘West Country’ No. 34092 City of Wells will be the star of the railway’s ‘End of Southern Steam’ gala on July 7-9. The air-smoothed 4-6-2 will be making only its second visit to is former home region since 1988, the first being the Swanage Railway’s ‘Strictly Bulleid’ gala on March 31-April 2.

Bluebell resident BR ‘Standard Five’ No. 73082 Camelot will also be in steam.  It was an ex-BR(S) locomotive, although unlike other members of the class, No. 73082 did not survive until the end of Southern steam.

Clan Line – ‘Merchant Navy’ No. 35028 will be hauling the aptly-named ‘Waterloo Sunset’ on behalf of UK Railtours on July 9. Clan Line will depart from Waterloo and travel to Sherbourne and Yeovil, returning to the capital via the Portsmouth Direct Line.

On July 5, the Bulleid ‘8P’ will haul the ‘Bournemouth Belle’, 50 years to the day since the legendary express service was last steam-hauled, and also the last time Clan Line worked under BR ownership.

Fresh from its appearance at the Mid-Hants’ gala, No. 34052 Lord Dowding will haul the ‘End of Southern Steam’ Waterloo-Weymouth railtour on behalf of the Railway Touring Company, precluding the ‘Light Pacific’s’ attendance on the second weekend of the MHR event.

Severn Valley Railway – Although not strictly a Southern steam commemoration, the SVR has confirmed to Steam Railway it plans to roster its resident ‘West Country’, No. 34027 Taw Valley on July 9 to mark the anniversary (see SR466).

The rebuilt ‘Light Pacific’ will be the only Bulleid steaming on July 9 away from its former home region.