Although a last minute stand-in for the withdrawn 3717 City of Truro; the Severn Valley Railway’s large prairie tank 5164 nevertheless added some variety to the impressive line-up (click here for more) of the Watercress Line’s Spring Steam Gala.
On the day, Simon of Brookes Castle (who is a massive fan of the GWR) and I were given an interesting tour of Medstead and Four Marks wagon works by a very enthusiastic volunteer. This gave us a great opportunity to get a few pictures of 5164 departing Medstead for Ropley, whilst passing a freight train hauled by West Country class 34007 Wadebridge.
Interestingly our guide told us that on the previous day, 5164 ran out of coal and had to be rescued by T9 class 30120. This speaks volumes for the intensity of the Gala services, the weight of the trains and the steep gradients of the ten mile line. Indeed, we also learned that Medstead and Four Marks is the highest standard gauge railway station in England!
Although it was the only tank engine in service on the day and was a substitute, I think you’ll agree that 5164 was by no means the weakest link in the line-up.
More blog posts will be published from the gala in due course, so as ever, watch this space!