Thursday, 7 May 2015

The Third Gala Visitor

Getting hold of visiting locos for our gala this year has been a painfully difficult task.  I have lost track of the number of times that I have written & re-written this article over the last few months featuring different anticipated locos only to find that the plans wouldn't quite come off.  I won't list the locos concerned, but for one of them in particular I would have thought all my birthdays and Christmases had come at once if it had happened.  For many of the others, I would have merely been over the moon if we had got them. Photos from my archives were lined up from a variety of photo charters and in three cases, from mainline excursions over amongst other locations, the Settle & Carlisle line.  I have fewer photos of what has finally turned out to be our third visiting loco.  Many thanks indeed to Andy our loco procurement officer, who has put in a Herculean amount of work into getting us our visiting locos.

Anyway, enough of this, for what I sincerely hope will be the last update to the lineup for the Speed to the West gala on the 23rd - 25th May, I am delighted to be able to announce that courtesy of the West Somerset Railway  and the owner, Jeremy Hosking, we will be having ex-GWR Modified Hall, 6960, Raveningham Hall as our third and final visiting gala locomotive. This fits in very nicely with our theme of holiday trains as Modified Halls would often have been used on holiday trains to the West country.  For those of you with very long memories, Raveningham Hall was also once one of our home fleet many years ago.

Raveningham Hall on the turntable at Minehead
Raveningham Hall at Washford on the WSR
Raveningham Hall departing Williton towards Bishops Lydeard
So to recap, the full line-up is as follows:

Home fleet:

Churchward, 2-8-0, 2807:
2807 approaching the aqueduct

Churchward, 2-8-0T, 4270:
4270 with the freight train at Toddington during last year's "Back to Black" gala.

 Collett small prairie, 5542:
5542 approaching Didbrook

Collett, 4-6-0, Manor Class, 7820 Dinmore Manor:
Dinmore Manor passing Didbrook

 Visting Locos:

Bulleid pacific, West Country Class, 34007, Wadebridge
34007, Wadebridge at Boscarne on the Bodmin & Wenford Railway
Bulleid pacific, West Country Class, 34092, Wells:
34092 Wells, photo courtesy of John Sagar
Hawksworth Modified Hall, 6960, Raveningham Hall:

Raveningham Hall at Whisky Trail Crossing on the WSR
I'm sure that you'll agree that is a stunning line up and well worth coming along to the GWSR for.  It is intended to have both the Bulleids facing north, so interesting double header options for both West Countries should be in the timetable.  I currently expect all the home fleet locos to be facing south.  No decision has yet been taken on the orientation of Raveningham Hall.

 Footplate rides on home fleet (book in advance) and brake van rides too.  More details to be found on the main GWSR website.


  1. fantastic lineup.....Ill be their !!!!..... my annual visit ;).... out of interest, what were the locos that couldn't make it ?......... heres my dream lineup for what its worth!...... 1. flying Scotsman 2. scots guardsman 3. a big Lizzie, or a king....cant decide on that one

  2. It's probably best not to list the locos that couldn't make it, not least because I'm not entirely up to speed/can't remember the reasons why they couldn't come in the end.

    I do like your dream line up. It was before my time, but Flying Scotsman has visited us before, but to the best of my knowledge, none of the others.