Saturday, 30 January 2010

Great Central Railway Winter Steam Gala 2010:- Post Two:- THE GALA...

Hi all! Today, after last nights caper's at the Shed Open Evening, I arrived at Rothley Station on the GCR ready to catch the first train, hauled by Stanier Mogul No42968. Now, as promised, here is the gala decription. Named "Lostock and A Few Smoking Barrels", arguably quite a cheeky title(!), the gala offered 8 locomotives, all of Midland orientation, as a final farewell to Lostock Shed. Lostock, located on the outskirts of Preston, was one of the final three steam sheds still open in 1968, the year BR officially ended main line steam. This made the shed a mecca for the steam enthusiast. It was a midland shed and provided many hours of joy to visitors in what was the end of an era...August 1968. As with last years event, I will decribe each of the locomotives in turn. First, above, visiting LMS Jubilee No5690 "Leander", owned by the Beet family. Privately own, this LMS Maroon liveried beast is one of four 5XP's in preservation, though currently the only one steamable. She looks very much at home in LMS Maroon and roared up and down the line faultlessly throughout the gala, hauling differing loads. She was built at Crewe in 1936 and was withdrawn, before being sent to Barry, in 1964. Next, Bert Hitchen's well-travelled Black 5 No45231 "The Sherwood Forester". Built in 1936 she ended her BR days at Carnorth. First preservation-based at the GCR, she hauled the re-opening train to Quorn in 1973. Following this, she operated there for many years before being sold on. She now holds a mainline certificate and operates trains on the "big railway" quite regularly...
Next, I particularly wanted to see LMS 3F (Jinty) No47406. The little 0-6-0 was built at the Vulcan Foundary in Newton-de-Willows for £3, 330(!), and later spent 32 years at Carnforth. Finally, in December 1967, she was withdrawn from Liverpool (Edge Hill). She was a relatively early arrival at Barry but still, until now, remained one of only two Jinty's that had not steamed in preservation! Ten were preserved in total and now, thanks to the GCR, only one example if left to steam. 47406 arrived at the GCR in 1989 and is owned by Roger Hibbert, who also owns LMS 8F No48305. Over the years, despite other commitments, the 3F has been restored and finally, in 2010, the locomotive has made her first moves! Alot of people came out for this one! The Jinty was relegated to ECS, Freight or 4-coach "Local Train" duties during the gala but, according to her driver, performed faultlessly on the day that I was there. Below, she shows her speed as she departs Quorn for Rothley with the "Local"...
Another engine that I really wanted to see was No44767 "George Stephenson", another Black 5. However, this visitor is no ordinary Black 5. She is the unique example that carries "Stephenson's Link" valve gear on her outside rodding! This makes for a complex display of engineering and, to me, provides a slightly different sound from the locomotive, almost like you get 'half the beats' for 'twice the speed'. The engine was outshopped on December 31st 1947, the day before the LMS was nationalised into British Railways. George Ivatt was attempting to improve Stanier's fabulous Black 5 design and thats why she carries this 'experimental' valve gear! She has steamed before in preservation and, her recently completed overhaul, undertaken in Morpeth, has just started another 10-year boiler ticket for her. The visitor is at the GCR for a repaint and appeared at the gala in a weathered livery, showing clearly what Black 5's must have looked like at the time of Lostock's closure! 44767 is seen rolling into Rothley on the back of 5690's train...
Also out and about was the 8F No48305, also owned by Roger Hibbert and built in 1943. Built for the war effort, 48305 was withdrawn in January 1968 (almost made it to the end!). Rescued from Barry in 1985, her first restoration was completed 10 years later. Since then she has had another overhaul, allowing her to continue running today. For the gala, 48305 carried the number 48476...the last 8F to work at Lostock Shed...quite fitting I think! Meanwhile, the Lord Protector himself, No70013 "Oliver Cromwell", was also spotted regularly during the gala, providing a huge display of BR's engineering! The famous 'Brit' also took part on one of the days "Travelling Post Office" demonstration runs, performing a high speed sprint through Quorn with Driver Tom Tighe on the regulator. 'Mickey Mouse' Standard 2 No78019 was also steamed and worked a few diagrams up and down the line. A nice size for any job, the Standard 2 performs regularly on the GCR and is often called upon to fill in for other engines as well. 78019 was built in 1954 and, following movement into preservation, the Standard 2 resteamed in 2004. Below, the Mickey arrives at Rothley with a passenger turn...
Finally, making the 8th locomotive, there was SVR-based Stanier Mogul No42968. The final example of Stanier's shining class, the 2-6-0 was withdrawn in December 1966. Owned by the Stanier Mogul Fund, 42968 has visited the GCR for a past Winter Steam Gala and was, again, a welcome addition to this one! Her most recent overhaul was completed in 2003 and she continues to operate regularly on the SVR. Following the gala, she will return home to Bridgnorth to resume her regular duties. Well, there you go! All 8 engines described! It really was a huge line up of power & engineering! Back to me now and, after catching the first train from Rothley behind 42968, she made her way to Leicester North, the end of the line. After running round, 42968 clanked back to Rothley where the new Jinty was glimpsed on her first "Local" run of the day. I wasn't getting off here though, I made my way down to Quorn, returning to Rothley later on. At around 2pm, I left Rothley for Loughborough where I spent 45 minutes or so mooching about the station site. I then duly headed back to Quorn in time to see the slightly-belated 4:33pm "TPO Demo" before catching the last train of the day back to Rothley behind 44767.
One problem with the day however was that some of the diagrams did not go according to plan. A problem in the morning had resulting in some trains late and some locomotives even swapping duties. We all waited for 44767 on windcutters and what turned up was 5690 with passenger coaches but with 44767 tailing on the back! Very strange! Two TPO demo's occured in the day and I was in a prime location for both. However, though I filmed the 2nd one with 70013 "Oliver Cromwell", I didn't manage to film the first with 5690 "Leander". The problem was, just as 5690 stormed towards us, my new JVC camcorder said, "I Cannot Work In These Temperatures, Goodbye" and shut itself off!! Technology is too knowledgable today I fear!! I must admit it was freezing but thats no excuse surely!! Anyway, it was a great day with, though freezing, sunshine throughout! I got a lot of film during the day of many different goings on in many different locations and, have compiled them all together into three seperate films, each no longer than 9 minutes. All three parts are included below, I hope you all will enjoy them! Part One:-
Part Two:-Around Rothley:-
Part Three:-Loughborough, Quorn & Rothley:-
Well, I make no apologies for the length of this post(!) and hope that you have all enjoyed reading it. I think thats enough to keep me going for a while now! (I spent so longing getting the feeling back into my feet after getting home!). Anyway, I must thank all of the loco owners, loco crews and of course the GCR Staff for putting on a fantastic gala and a fantastic line-up indeed! I'll certainly, as usual, be going again next year! Thanks for reading everyone, please comment if you wish! Evening All...!

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