Last weekend would have been the "Cotswold Festival of Steam", which promised to be the usual unmissable event with a fabulous selection of guest locos (only 2 of which we had announced). Sadly, that along with so much else fell by the wayside in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. It is hoped that we will be able to resurrect the gala next year in its usual late May bank holiday weekend slot assuming that the current social distancing restrictions have been sufficiently lifted by then.
Suffering withdrawal symptoms and desperately in need of a steam fix, one of my correspondents in the steam dept who has requested anonymity decided to run his own gala at home over the weekend, he has furnished me with a plethora of photos and a long description of what transpired along with some background information.
The story started some years ago after an attic conversion in his bungalow left a small area free for non-domestic purposes. He was more than a little surprised when he broached the subject of installing a model railway in the free space, that his wife suggested that he creates a layout of Toddington. His plans had hitherto been somewhat less ambitious, but given a green light to start on Toddington, it would have been churlish to have said no. The space available wasn't exactly huge and had the disadvantage of having no floor boards, or lighting... in fact nothing but a roof over head. Progress has stepped up a gear since the lockdown started, though in his own words, the gears concerned were tectonic speeding up to glacial. Nonetheless, there is now a floor, electricity, plasterboard around the walls from a certain height upwards and a base on which to build a OO scaled layout of Toddington. Toddington as it would have been somewhere in the 1950's, rather than current day Toddington. He wanted to model from the road bridge at the north end of the station, as far as the south headshunt. Some measuring of scale diagrams and calculations later suggested it wouldn't all fit into the space available... unless he was prepared to put up with the various sidings at the south end of Toddington curving round a corner. Sometimes in life you have to compromise. The big achievement over the lockdown period is that all the track (including two single slips and one double slip) has been laid, electric points wired up and made to work. He was at pains to point out that none of the buildings or platforms scattered around in the photos that follow will feature in the finished layout, they just happened to be left lying around from previous projects and dropped in to give an indication of where things will be. The back scene does exist, but the PVA glue hadn't set in time for it for be set up for this gala. The track is only spot glued in place and as yet has no ballast... he is very much hoping that the ORR don't turn up for a spot check of the permanent way.
|Toddington sometime in the 1950's|
Next up in the home fleet is Foremarke Hall... well, not quite yet. The recent model of Foremarke Hall is in black, and it has only run in lined green in preservation. This is another modified hall in the right livery, waiting patiently for my correspondent to finally get round to applying the replacement name & number plates that he has had for some years now.
|7903, Foremarke Hall|
This Toddington can only muster four BR MK1's, which have been put behind 7820, Dinmore Manor for this photo.
|7820, Dinmore Manor|
Dinmore Manor is shown here in lined green. There will soon be a lined black variant by Dapol, my correspondent has one on order. You too can order one via the shop at Toddington station (the real one of course... the OO gauge one hasn't even started construction yet)
Last, but not least for the home fleet, we have 35006, which has a rake of 8 Pullman carriages (best not let the GWSR finance director know how much it cost to hire that lot in).
|35006 approaches from Winchcombe|
|5542, stopping to take on water and drop off milk|
|Taking coal towards South Wales?|
A final ex-home fleet loco that ran on the gala was the Peckett, John. Well OK, this one is an 0-6-0ST Peckett rather than an 0-4-0ST, I am assured that something more suitable will be sourced and treated to a GWR green paint job along with shirt button logo that John carried when last in service.
|OK, not quite John|
Another advantage of ths format of gala is that you can reinvite past guests and nobody complains... well they can if they like, but my correspondent really doesn't care about that.
|3850 on the sort of length of freight train that I wish we could emulate in 12" to the foot scale|
|Counting down the days|
|KEII back for the 3rd time on the trot|
|Cheltenham on the blood & custard rake|
|1450 & Autocoach arrives at platform 1 from Winchcombe|
|45305 on the blood and custard's.|
|No headboard on the Cheltenham Flyer... yet.|
|Apparently my correspondent's wife preferred Tornado in the blue livery|
|60010, Dominion of Canada arriving from Winchcombe.|
|30585 on a china clay empties|
|30587 with more china clay empties|
|30586, the one that eluded preservation with 3 china clay hoods|
|2807 passing 2807|
My correspondent had obtained a DCC sound/light fitted Merchant Navy to run as 35006, and once again, although he has the transfers and nameplates has yet to fit them. Meanwhile a kind soul gave him a DCC fitted Merchant Navy already renumbered as 35006... so he now effectively has two of those.
|Double headed Merchant Navy on the Pullman rake|
|2874 with the milk tankers passing 3850|
|One day the dream will be a reality|
|Not something that you see every day!|
My correspondent very much hopes that he will be able to enjoy next year's gala on the footplate rather than in his attic.