September Diesel gala on the 'Friendly Line in the Cotswolds' - 24th & 25th September 2005
01 August 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 plus TWO VISITING LOCOMOTIVES. The event is shaping up to be one of the railway's most interesting ever Diesel Galas and it takes place over the weekend of Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th September 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, and the more recent 'Freightliner' and 'Loadhaul' 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 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. Some people might 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 we will be 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. 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, No. 47376 will be rededicated at Toddington Station during the event after a recent body overhaul, with 'Freightliner 1995' nameplates being unveiled on the locomotive for the first time in preservation. 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, it is planned that cab visits and 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, Class 20 No. D8137 and the extremely rare ex-LMS Diesel Shunter No 7069. An allday rover ticket costs just £9.50 for adults, which entitles 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
Come along and support one of the most 'Pro-Diesel' Heritage lines in the UK.