The Moseley Railway Trust has announced the details of the steam locomotives which will be visiting the Apedale Valley Light Railway for the ‘Tracks to the Trenches 2016’ event.
In addition to the previously-announced Kerr, Stuart Joffre from the West Lancashire Light Railway and Hudswell Clarke No 1643 from Statfold, Baldwin No 44656 of 1917 will make a very welcome return visit from its normal base at the Leighton Buzzard Light Railway.
Owned by the Greensand Railway Museum Trust, the Baldwin – No 778 – has just completed a major winter overhaul. These locomotives were supplied en-masse from their American builder to the British War Department from 1917 onwards, eventually totalling nearly 500 by 1918. They were the most common steam locomotive operated by the War Department Light Railways during World War 1. After the war, No 778 was one of a batch of 50 locomotives identified for further service on the North West Frontier between India (now Pakistan) and Afghanistan. By the early 1970s, this war veteran had been rediscovere at an Indian sugar works by adventurous British railway enthusiasts. In March 1985, the loco returned to the UK. After a major restoration project, No 778 was finally launched into public service in August 2007. 2014 saw No 778 star at the ‘Tracks to the Trenches’ event at Apedale before withdrawal for a boiler overhaul. This has been completed in double-quick time – a testimony to the quality of the original restoration.
Phil Robinson, the Chairman of the Moseley Railway Trust, said ‘The Baldwin No.778 was a hit with our visitors at the 2014 Tracks to the Trenches event, and we very much look forward to a repeat performance in 2016!’
Additionally to the visiting steam locomotives, various visiting internal combustion locomotives will be at Apedale for the event, complementing the extensive collection of War Department Light Railway material which is resident on site. All of these will be operated in an authentic environment, moving supplies to a re-creation of a Western Front trench. Living History groups will be on site to add authenticity, as will the replica Tank which provided a backdrop to many memorable photographs in 2014.
‘Tracks to the Trenches 2016’ will be open 12.30-17.30 on 13 Friday May 2016 and 10.30-17.30 on Saturday/Sunday 14/15 May 2016. Admission prices are Adult £9, Child £4, Family (2 + 2) £20. A limited number of Access All Areas passes will be available, priced at £30.
By way of exchange, the Moseley Railway Trust’s Hudswell Clarke steam loco No.1238 will be visiting the Leighton Buzzard Light Railway’s event marking the War Department Light Railways Centenary. This event is on 28/29/31 August and 1/4/5 September. This will be a return visit by Hudswell No 1238, which previously visited Leighton Buzzard in 2008 prior to the locomotive being restored. This visit is particularly appropriate, because the Leighton Buzzard Light Railway had two steam locomotives of the same type as Hudswell Clarke No 1238 when it first opened in 1919 – sadly, the two Leighton Buzzard locomotives were scrapped many years ago.
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