November Diesel gala on the 'Friendly Line in the Cotswolds' - 5th & 6th November 2005
01 October 2005
The next major diesel event of the season on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway (GWR), which operates between Toddington, Winchcombe and Cheltenham Racecourse Stations, will feature the railway's operational fleet of no less than eight locomotives. The event is shaping up to be a very interesting Diesel Gala and it takes place over the weekend of Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th November 2005.
With the increasingly widespread introduction of 'multiple units', electric trains and high-speed trains on the national network, a diesel locomotive hauling a train of passenger carriages on the main line has become a very rare sight indeed. However, the distinctive sight and sound of the post-steam era on Britain's railways will be recalled during this gala.
Visitors will be able to enjoy an intensive train service over the two days, with the locomotives clocking up several hundred miles between them over the 20-mile round trip on the GWR's line. Appearing in British Rail Blue livery, British Rail Green livery and the more recent 'Freightliner' and Network South East liveries, most represent types that once regularly worked over the GWR's route before the line was closed in 1976. However, there will be one or two running which didn't feature in the historic days, and subject to availability, the 'starring' locomotives will be as follows:
- Class 20 No. D8137
- Class 24 No. 24081
- Class 37 No's 37215 & 37324
- Class 47 No's 47105 & 47376
- Class 56 No. 56003
- Class 73 No. 73129
Wayne Finch from the GWR's Diesel Department says, "Restoring a main line diesel locomotive demands enormous technical skill and at Toddington, we have a group of extremely dedicated volunteers who have restored some of these locomotives from scrap yard condition. There are some people who turn their noses up at diesels but they represent a vital era in the evolution of Britain's railways. Some of the types of locomotive running during the gala took over from steam during the late 1960's and were the mainstay of services throughout the country over the following 40 years. We can, therefore, promise visitors an unusual and special experience."
Trains will be running from 09:15 from Toddington and 10:00 from Cheltenham Racecourse station. There will also be regular "shuttle" services operating between Toddington and Winchcombe Stations on the Saturday and Sunday, as will demonstration freight trains, and many of the trains will be double-headed. Furthermore, we hope this will mark the return of Class 20 No. D8137 which has not run for several months, having been undergoing mechanical repairs, and will be a further opportunity to see the gleaming No. 47376 sporting its recently applied ‘Freightliner’ grey livery and replacement 'Freightliner 1995' nameplates. Catering will be available in the 'Flag and Whistle' Tea Rooms at Toddington, whilst light refreshments and 'Rail Ale' will also be available from the buffet cars on the trains. Additionally, yard tours will be available so visitors can view other locomotive restoration and repair projects such as Peak Class locomotive No. 45149, Class 26 No. 26043, and the extremely rare ex-LMS Diesel Shunter No 7069. Rover tickets will be available, which will enable travellers to change trains as they wish on the day of purchase.
Toddington station is 100 metres from the junction of the B4632 and B4077 roads and 6 miles from junction 9 on the M5, whilst Cheltenham Racecourse Station can be accessed from the main entrance to the Racecourse.
More details are available by phoning Toddington Railway Station (01242 621405) or by logging on to our website at www.gwsr.com
This will be a splendid opportunity for families and enthusiasts alike to come along and enjoy a great weekend at ‘The Friendly Line in the Cotswolds’.