I think I must be allergic to the Severn Valley’s Autumn steam galas, last year I had tonsilitus, and this year all didn’t exactly go to plan, yet again. Before this weekend I was expecting to be able to spend a half decent amount of time at the SVR gala, considering I wasn’t actually in the area on the business of seeing trains. Saturday afternoon would be spent going to a couple of the stations, with a good chunk of Sunday walking along the line as there are plenty of footpaths around, especially between Arley and Hampton Loade, so I was hoping to walk quite a lot of that as well. Cometh the day though, and Saturday I felt absolutely grotty with a sore throat and a cold. I was thus in no state to persuade any family member to take me out to go train spotting. So that was Saturday out. Never mind, maybe I might be better for Sunday? I was out for the count and everybody decided I needed the sleep as I was ill, so things didn’t get off to a good start. Then a journey in the car that lasted twice as long as was supposed to due to a combination of tractors and getting lost. Then the realisation that I’d only have time for Highley to Hampton Loade section due to a slightly forgotten piece of coursework due in the next day I was a little bit miffed. Never the less, I managed to see all three guest engines, plus one or two others, and I still had a great morning walking through the valley with a steam railway on one side and a meandering river on the other. So here’s what I managed to snap:
No need to elaborate here, M7 30053 on a small local train consisting of a couple of LMS coaches. the only thing the SVR is lacking coach wise is something green to match Southern locos.
34053 Sir Keith Park on an “express” train with a rather nice exhaust in evidence hauling it’s laden blood ‘n’ custard liveried train of MK 1s from Hampton Loade to Highley and onwards.
Midland 4F 43924 approaches Country Park Halt on the maroon MK 1s, slowing to pick up and drop off the largest number of passengers I’ve ever seen get on and off at a little halt!
Taken in a rush (I had to run back to get this!) is S&DJR 7F No. 88, although difficult to see here, resplendent in her Prussian blue livery, with the teak rake, again approaching Country Park halt. Seeing as neither loco or coaches had anything suitable to match this seemed a good idea.
That was all I managed on the train front, apart from hearing a lot of whistling from local trains that didn’t make it this far along the line. But as I said, a beautiful walk as well, very much worth doing even without the trains, although of course vastly improved by some!
I can’t complain really, thinking about it, I do all right on the whole. I get a near as makes no difference whole event ticket for the GWSR steam gala every year for free as long as it looks like I’m doing something helpful, plus a ride on a normal day there whenever I feel like it, I tend to visit the SVR for free several times a year as well, and I did go to an “interesting” CVR winter gala earlier this year, plus a couple of visits to the Chasewater railway, several visits to the Swanage railway whilst on holiday, plus a couple of planned trip still to come. Actually I do more than all right, that’s pretty good for someone who doesn’t have his own transport and has to rely on other family members mildly interested in steam railways for ferrying around!
However, I will be trying again! Next year is the SVR’s 50th Birthday and I’m hoping that for their ASG they will pull out all the stops, find some more and pull them out too to celebrate. I shall be getting an all weekend rover ticket and doing the thing properly, with riding on trains, walking a bit, getting on again, doing the night trains, the whole lot. So next year you can expect a myriad of blog posts on everything down to the last carriage 😀 For those that are interested the dates pencilled in for next year are the 17th – 20th September 2015 for hopefully the SVR’s best ASG yet.
In the meantime I’m sure there will be plenty of coverage of other steam galas, the MHR one featuring highly I suspect…