The Severn Valley Railway’s Spring Steam Gala was marred by the failure of two of the main attractions to the event.
Neither the visiting ‘Hall’, No 6990 Witherslack Hall from the Great Central Railway, nor resident ‘Manor’ No 7802 Bradley Manor operated during the three-day event. No 6990 was diagnosed with a hot box on the leading bogie whilst No 7802 was sidelined for essential maintenance to repair faults in the firebox stays.
The failure of ‘two locomotives resulted in the line’s two Bulleid light Pacifics — Nos 34027 Taw Valley and 34053 Sir Keith Park — undertaking more duties than timetabled; the latter had only just returned from its brief sojourn on the West Somerset Railway.
To cap the weekend off, 0-6-0PT No 1501 was also deemed a failure during the Sunday and was unable to operate its scheduled turns.
In addition to these problems, a line-side fire between Bewdley and Kidderminster required the attendance of the fire service during Sunday afternoon.
One loco that did manage to perform without incident was the Talyllyn Railway’s Kerr Stuart No 4 Edward Thomas, which was in steam in England for the first time since being supplied to the Corris Railway in 1921. It operated over a short demonstration track in front of the Engine House at Highley for the three days of the gala.
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