Well the bank holiday weekend finally arrived with the weather in a medley of rain and shine, and with it the GWSR’s gala themed around the workhorses of the railway in BR black. Not only were there three guest locomotives, we had Dinmore Manor in her first appearance in her unlined black livery at a gala and 4270 (whilst not in black) hauling her very first service trains in over 50 years over the weekend, appropriately enough starting with the freight train, for she, along with her 104 other classmates, were designed to work the mines in the south Wales coal fields. Add into that a re-liveried stanier 8f and the whole event was always going to be a hit.
The timetable was brilliantly arranged, being very flexible, and accommodating too, but still very busy with lots of loco changes. It was originally designed for 8 locos, operated very well still with 7 (2807 being held up at Tyesley) and at one point still worked perfectly fine with 6 when the black 5 had a bit of a wobble with her brick arch.
There were four trains going around the line, our nice shiny first chocolate and cream rake, the maroon set which we have worked extensively on over the winter repainting the carriages and should be completely repainted by next Christmas and a markedly improved from last year third rake, which this year only featured one livery! Hopefully by the next gala most of those will be nice and shiny too, we ran out of time to topcoat the restaurant car, how many noticed it was still in undercoat and not just faded!?
As popular as ever the freight train also had a starring role in the gala running the full length of the line and offering brake van rides at both ends of the train.
And I had an enjoyable few days helping out in the carriage and Wagon works explaining to people what we do and how we do it.
Over the next few days I’ll follow in the footsteps of Dave publishing some photos and some info on each of the starring locomotives (see below) and a few of the other attractions around the railway. All of my pics are around the stations, mostly Winchcombe as that was where I was, unfortunately I didn’t have time to go and take some nice pictures in the country, but there’s a sort of a “best of” on the railway’s website here.