A sole survivor, a force of nature and locos spanning the centuries will star at 2018 Spring Steam Gala
21st February 2018
The Railway’s 2018 season opener event will feature a truly eclectic range of visiting locomotives from across the country, carrying out intensive passenger services throughout the event, alongside many of the SVR’s resident fleet of engines.
Visitors can experience attractions up and down the line, including a busy timetable of local trains and autotrains running between stations into the evenings as well as goods trains and the Coalyard Miniature Railway and Paddock Garden Railway in operation. The Engine House Visitor Centre and Kidderminster Railway Museum will also be open to explore.
This year’s event will feature a diverse line-up of visiting locomotives that spans not only decades, but centuries, with one of the oldest steam locomotives in operation, in full steam alongside one of the very newest.
Haydock Foundry Bellerophon, appearing thanks to the Vintage Carriage Trust and Foxfield Railway, is one of the oldest steam locomotives to be seen in action in the World. Designed by Josiah Evans, son of prominent Lancashire businessman and colliery owner Richard Evans, Bellerophon was built in 1874, and, despite being created as a goods engine, carried out many passenger services on the Lancashire and Yorkshire and the London and North Western Railways. Withdrawn in 1964, and having undergone an overhaul, Bellerophon is currently in regular use on the Foxfield Railway in Staffordshire.
From an elder statesman to a brand new addition – a force of nature will be steaming in, in the shape LNER A1 No. 60163 Tornado. The first new, mainline steam locomotive to be built in Britain since 1960, Tornado was also the first to be paid for by public subscription.
The last of the original ‘Peppercorn A1’ steam locomotives were scrapped in 1966, thanks to the introduction of diesel engines on the UK’s main line, some after only 15 years in service. More than 50 years on, and fresh from a starring role in hit film Paddington 2, Tornado is going strong and is more popular than ever, thanks to the pioneering project to recreate this famous Gresley design, launched by the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust in Darlington.
The only remaining locomotive of its kind – LNER B12 No. 8572, will be appearing, thanks to the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway Society. One of 70 built from 1911, it was a workhorse of the Great Eastern Railway express service to London.
Many B12s were called upon to haul extremely heavy loads during WWII, and by 1959, all but one were withdrawn. A sole survivor, No. 8572 survived much of the 60s and was a minor celebrity, running rail tours under British Railways ownership until it was purchased by the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway Society.
A rags to riches heart-warmer is next in the starring line-up. On July 4th 1988, a very shabby hunk of metal was taken away from Woodham’s Scrapyard in Barry. Having languished there, rusting, for 23 years, while parts of it were removed for other restoration projects, what remained of BR Standard 4MT No.80072 appeared to be a real ‘no-hoper’ - until it was spotted by Ray and Elaine Treadwell.
The rather sorry-looking locomotive, first built in 1953, had had worked on a range of lines including the Central Wales Line, until it was withdrawn in 1965 after only 11 years in service. The badly-corroded shell was brought back to life by the Llangollen Standard Four Project and finally steamed again for the first time in 2009.
Rounding-off the visiting engines is LNER B1 No.61264 – which will be making its first event appearance following a re-paint into Lined LNER Black and a change of number to No. 1264. Built in Glasgow, it entered service in 1947 as a wartime, mixed-freight locomotive and was used on many express passenger services between Nottingham, Leicester and London Marylebone until it was withdrawn in 1965. Owned by the Thompson B1 Locomotive Trust, which has just made an agreement to run it at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway for the next five years, No. 1264 has worn a number of different names and numbers in preservation, including No. 61034 Chiru and No. 61005 Impala and will be renamed and numbered yet again this summer, into No. 1040 Roedeer.
The SVR’s Events Co-ordinator Lewis Maddox, said: “We’ve got a really exciting, diverse range of visiting locomotives of all shapes and sizes heading our way this year to run an intensive timetable of services alongside members of our home fleet.
“There’ll be lots to see and explore, from our Engine House Visitor Centre - packed with interactive exhibits, to the Kidderminster Railway Museum, with its fascinating range of memorabilia and artefacts – you can even take a ride on our Coalyard Miniature Railway too.”
For more information about the Spring Steam Gala or to book tickets, see www.svr.co.uk or call 01562 757900. For more news and events, see the Severn Valley Railway Official Site or Families pages on Facebook.