I’m no expert (by any means) on when the seasons start and finish, but I’m fairly sure that spring has not sprung yet. Therefore it was interesting when the Watercress Line moved the date of their Spring Steam gala of 2015 back to mid-February. Perhaps renaming it a Winter gala may have been more apt? Holding the event over Valentines Day weekend was also a brave move and in my case a rather expensive one, as taking a day to see the trains needed some compensating for my long-suffering better half! Nitpicking the choice of date and event name aside, the Mid-Hants Railway as usual gave us an excellent gala to enjoy and it was especially great to spend much of the day with fellow locoyard bloggers Simon and Alex with his father. It made the day very enjoyable, so thank you chaps!As Simon surmised yesterday, it was a great event. Most of the working home fleet were in operation, with the exception of BR Standard class 9F 92212. As usual for the Hampshire heritage railway, there were a few representatives from the southern region. These took the form of two National Railway Museum Southern Malachite green locomotives (850 Lord Nelson and 925 Cheltenham pictured above) flying the flag for Maunsell, whilst Bulleid was represented by West Country class pacific pacific 34007 Wadebridge (below.)
The Midland region was represented by ex-LMS Stanier black 5 45379 (below,) a class common on preserved lines, although not so much in the south of England. They may be common, but in my opinion are a classic British locomotive design.
The first of two visitors was Gresley LNER A4 class 4464 Bittern, finished in garter blue but with the valences removed to expose the motion and red wheels.
The other visitor was another 4-6-2 Pacific type with a chime whistle, but a very different machine. 70000 Britannia was the first of 999 BR Standard class locomotives to be built and was running at the gala after several months of repairs at Ropley. As Simon mentioned yesterday, it hauled the first passenger service of the day from Ropley with cylinder cocks open that made photography near enough an impossibility, although I managed to just make out the beast moving through the storm of its own creating in the image below.
Linked blog posts:
Mid-Hants Railway and Modern Engineering – an update on various projects, from wagons and coaches to locomotives
Elderly Yet Still A Speed Demon! – LNER A4 class 4464 Bittern.