I had to stand very still to let the ripples caused by my feet come to rest
The spooky prairie glides gracefully into Cheltenham Race Course station as the Fire & Drive train waits to depart
The other train running today was the 'Fire and Drive' course which used Churchward 28XX, 2807 on a maroon rake of BR mk1 stock. Tony Stockwell was the driving instructor and Cliff Faulkner the firing instructor on this occasion.
2807, all revved up and ready to go off shed this morning
2807 poses with the instructors and participants on today's 'Fire and Drive' course at Winchcombe
An unexpected bonus to the day was that after the 'Fire and Drive' course, 2807 was to return to Toddington for a boiler washout, thus becoming the first steam locomotive to cross the recently resurrected Chicken Curve since the embankment collapse under her own steam (Stanier 8F, 8274 had already crossed, but towed by a diesel). It wasn't a widely anticipated movement and to my surprise there was no gallery of photographers on the lineside and just a few of the steam loco dept and the Cotswold Preservation Group on hand to see her arrive at Toddington. Thankfully your roving correspondant was able to record this momentous event for posterity from the vantage point of the footplate.
Just set off, the view along Chicken Curve
The outer home signal for trains back into Winchcombe is obscured by our own exhaust
The outer home for Toddington hoves into view
Tony Stockwell drives whilst Cliff Faulkner hands over the line staff at Toddington signal box
After a long absence, 2807 simmers gently at Toddington whilst Tony Stockwell and Andy Beale look on.
Finally, many thanks indeed to Tony and Cliff for inviting me along to record this little piece of history being made and of course, heartfelt thanks to all the many people who banded together in the railway's hour of need and contributed to the fund to restore the collapsed embankment at Chicken Curve. Thanks to their support, steam will continue to thrive in this corner of the Cotswolds.