After a successful 2017 season at Churnet Valley, the railway has announced a number of visiting locos they have secured for 2018 and 2019.
Following on from a succesful Silver Jubilee Gala, the Churnet Valley Railway has announced that a deal has been reached with the Dartmouth Steam Railway, as well as the release of initial plans for a NSRC40 Gala in 2018.
Following this winter’s hire of GWR ‘42XX’ 2-8-0T No. 4277 from the Dartmouth Steam Railway, agreements have been made for two more Paignton-based engines to make extended visits to Staffordshire -: ‘Small Prairie’ No. 4555, making its first-ever appearance on a preserved railway other than the Kingswear and Buckfastleigh lines, and ‘Manor’ 4-6-0 No. 7827 Lydham Manor.
The Churchward 2-6-2T is booked for two hire periods at the CVR – from the beginning of October 2018 to the end of February 2019, with a repeat visit from October 2019 to February 2020.
Lydham Manor meanwhile has been booked to spend the whole of February 2019 at the CVR, in its first medium-term hire to another preserved line – previous forays, such as those to the South Devon and West Somerset Railways, have been short-term visits for galas. However, its time at Cheddleton will encompass a steam gala – which, with No. 4555 also present, will offer memories of Talerdig and the Cambrian network.
4555 first public appearance will be at the CVR’s gala of October 2018 – being held to mark the 40th Anniversary of the line’s supporting charity, the North Staffordshire Railway Co. (1978) Ltd. However a more LMS theme has been chosen for this event, with a further two guest engines being hired specifically for this event. The star guests for NSRC40 will be former S&D ‘7F’ 2-8-0 No. 53808, from the West Somerset Railway, and LNWR ‘Coal Tank’ No. 1054, courtesy of the Bahamas Locomotive Society. The three guest locomotives will operate a variety of services along both the Churnet Valley and Cauldon lines across all three days of this autumn event.
The line's annual Winter Steam Gala meanwhile has been moved forward for 2018 to February 3/4, enabling a farewell event for No. 4277 to be held before its ticket expires on February 9. A further guest locomotive is currently being secured, and will hopefully be announced before Christmas.
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