EVLR steam gala 8/06/13
The Evesham Vale Light Railway held its annual gala over the second weekend in June.
The four strong home locomotive fleet were all in operation on an intensive timetable which included double headers and 'wrong' way workings around the balloon loop.
Below: 'Dougal' and 'St Egwin' run light round the balloon loop
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Photos - 24 high quality photographs
Video (HD, 13:15)
No:312 'St Egwin'
Ruston & Hornsby 'Cromwell'
£2.20 for Adult round trip
The Evesham Vale Light Railway is one of those small heritage lines that don't appear on most railway enthusiasts' radar.
This delightful 15 inch gauge line deserves to though; it may not match the length of other lines of its gauge like the Ravensglass and Eskdale, Bure Valley, or Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch at about 1 mile,but with four locomotives, departures every 20 minutes and some double headed workings there was an impressive variety of things to see.
The gala provided a great opportunity to see all of the railway's interesting and varied fleet in operation at once.
(Left: 'St Egwin' drifts into Evesham Vale. 'Dougal' prepares to run on to the other end of the train to take it back around the balloon loop to Twyford. Click the image to see a bigger version)
The main draw was the opportunity to see all four of the railway's engines, two steam, two diesel running on one day and enjoy a slightly longer ride than normal. The timetable worked so that one loco took a train from the main station at Twyford though the remains of the old apple orchards - we'll come back to them in bit - round the balloon loop to Evesham Vale halt. Ordinarily the train then goes back to Twyford. However, during the gala there was another engine waiting in the loop at Evesham Vale which then hooked onto the other end of the stock taking it back around the balloon loop the opposite way and on to Tywford. Once this had cleared the loop and was heading up the bank to Twyford the first loco could run out of the station and reverse around the balloon
loop to get in position to do the same for the second train. In this way if you went for two round trips you could ride on all of the engines if you timed it right.
The other attraction for enthusiasts is the EVLR's location on Evesham Country Park meaning relations less interested in the trains could still come along and indulge in a spot of retail therapy - a win-win situation for everyone!
Now, back to those apple orchards. The word 'remains' was quite
important. If you've visited the EVLR before you'll know it runs out from the garden centre at Twyford and round a bit of a hill, which actually isn't very far from the garden centre, but felt a world a away as it was hidden from view by the apple orchards. The section of old orchards between the balloon loop and the country park have
been cleared as part of the redevelopment of Evesham Country Park
Happily the railway is staying, but the loss of the screening offered by the trees just made it feel a bit more like you actually went somewhere.(Top right: 'Dougal rounds the curve into the tunnel on 8/06/13. You can see the out buildings of the garden centre in the top right hand corner of the image. Bottom right: Before- No:30 'Count Louis' slightly less far around the same curve with the orchards behind) The video shows this more clearly between 7:00 minutes and 7:41. The comparable clip from last year appears from 04:47
This was, of course, the main attraction for enthusiasts since not only were the railway's two steam locomotives running, but the gala also provided a rare opportunity to ride behind the line's two diesel engines which aren't used often on public trains.
The first of these is seen on the left, the delightful Lister 4wDM christened 'Sludge'. Its peculiarly narrow and tall stable mate was Ruston & Hornsby 'Cromwell' which was formerly based on the Markeaton Park Railway and has a marvellous horn on it!
Since the railway changed owners the two 'Atlantics' No:32 'Count Louis' and No:103 'John' appear to have moved on to pastures new.
*Update*: 'Count Louis' is visiting the Ravensglass & Eskdale Railway according to a recent Steam Railway magazine (SR415)
(Left: No:4 'Sludge' waits to leave Evesham Vale)
An excellent gala on a delightful railway which sadly slips under most enthusiasts' radar. Thank you to all the volunteers who made the event so successful.