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.