The weekend was the first Steam Gala for my local railway for a number of years, and they decided to push the boat out with a major event, including 3 visiting locos (925
) as well as the 4 that normally work the line.
I was working Friday and Saturday, unfortunately, but was able to volunteer to help in the cafe yesterday (very busy, lot of fun) and to go as a visitor today. My shiny new phone came in very handy, and I took quite a few pictures, some of which you can see on Flickr here
Highlights of the day including travelling from Toddington down to Cheltenham in the brake van on the back of the freight train they had running all weekend, as well as 3 passenger trains.( Brake van )
As you can probably tell from the picture, it was a draughty trip but the view all round was wonderful. We had the chance to chat with the guard, and a couple of experienced volunteers, and hear a lot more about the history and running of the railway. The most exciting bit was probably going through the tunnel - it's nearly 700 ft long and curves through the hill, so the middle, in the unlit brake van, was pitch black. The last time I was anywhere that dark, it was down a coal mine.
Coming back to Toddington in a slighter better lit vehicle, I looked around the site and had a ride on the narrow-gauge railway. Only about half a mile, but their workshop was open and interesting to look around - though I was rather amused by this sign on the way out.( What did they think we were going to get up to in there? )
I also climbed up onto the foot plate of this monster...( Merchant Navy Class 35006 )
She's been under restoration at Toddington since 1983 (she'd been heavily cannibalised for parts for other engines), and they're hoping that she'll be ready to steam later this year.
Finally, back in Cheltenham the Racecourse was being used for a Bank Holiday weekend fun event, and this was the sight we were greeted with, as we came into the station. :-)