Memories a-plenty on the GWR
05 May 2005
Now here is a chance to recall the great days of Great Western steam: at the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's Steam Gala over the weekend of Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 13th to 15th May.
A special timetable will operate using no fewer than five engines on Saturday and Sunday and four on the Friday.
Star of the show is bound to be no. 3440 'City of Truro', which is owned by the National Railway Museum and is on loan to the GWR for May. Ian Crowder, the GWR's press officer, says '"City of Truro' is reputed to be the first locomotive ever to exceed 100mph - and it achieved that remarkable feat 101 years ago, when the engine was just a year old. It was the fastest machine on the planet!
"And although on Saturday and Sunday a special early train will depart from Toddington hauled by the engine, running non-stop to Cheltenham, it will be travelling at a quarter of that speed - but that's plenty fast enough to appreciate the grace and elegance of this Edwardian masterpiece."
Another special feature is double-heading the last train of the day, using the two magnificent 'Hall' class engines, no 4963 'Kinlet Hall' and 7903 'Foremarke Hall'.
"Engines of this type used to haul the famous 'Cornishman' express over the line and sometimes it was double-headed," says Ian. "And on the front of the train will be 'The Cornishman' headboard, once so familiar to midlands families off on holiday to Cornwall."
There will be several other double-headed trains over the weekend, using various pairings of engines.
How many people remember the 'local goods'? A grimy tank engine running between stations picking up and dropping off trucks of goods for local traders.
Explains Ian: "Most of the stations on the Cheltenham to Honeybourne line once had goods yards, including Bishops Cleeve, Gotherington, Winchcombe and Toddington but by the 1960's all had closed."
But a recently-arrived pannier tank locomotive, no. 9642, will be handling just that sort of train between Toddington and Winchcombe on Friday. "This engine is typical of those that used to work from Cheltenham over the line," he says.
Goods and 'local passenger' trains with various engines will be running between Toddington and Winchcombe on Saturday and Sunday.
This is what railways used to be like - so it's a treat both for the young to see how things used to be; and for those of us old enough to remember!
You can find out more on www.gwsr.com, where the special timetable can be downloaded, or telephone 01242 621 405.