Our first big event of 2016 has proved to be a roaring success, with hundreds of people attending the Winter Steam Gala coming from all corners of the UK.
Despite a bitter chill to proceedings on the Saturday, many people took advantage of our steam-heated trains and enjoyed the sight and sound of the three steam locomotives working a varied service along both the Churnet Valley Line and Cauldon Lowe Branch. There was so many people around that both days reserves of hot food was completely sold out before 3pm on Saturday, resulting in a quick stock up of supplies ready for Sunday’s services! We were also required to add an additional coach on Saturday to one of the sets, in order to enable everyone travelling to get a seat.
The highlight of the event was undoubtedly the return to service of S160 no. 6046, which performed impeccably all weekend and sounded magnificent when faced with the 1in45 climb to Ipstones. GWR Taff Tank no. 5619 also proved popular on her final weekend in service before returning to Bodmin where she is presently based.
Following the railway’s appearance on the BBC’s Great British Railway Journeys with Michael Portillo there is an increased level of interest in the CVR, and nationally railways are generating interest following the return to steam of the iconic Flying Scotsman recently. This was furthered when Liz Ellis interviewed one of the event’s organisers on her Saturday radio show for BBC Stoke, which can be heard again on iplayer (go to 28m30).
We’d like to offer a huge thank you to all our visitors, and look forward to hopefully seeing many of you again at one of our other events for 2016. A selection of pictures are provided of the gala below, plus a video taken by one of our visitors to the event.
If you missed out on seeing 6046 return to traffic then don't worry, she is booked to work this coming weekend's Cauldon service offering two round trips to Ipstones from Froghall each day. Discounts available online in advance.
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