Friday, 25 July 2014

Wonderful Welland...

Hi guys. We have here another nice post about a sunny day out. Regular readers will know that in my pre-MTEW organising days, I didn't really visit many steam rallies. I am a railway man through and through but, I must admit, in recent times, owing mainly to seeing and searching for so many engines on behalf of my April event, I have started to appreciate the traction engine a lot more. This was evident last year with our visits to Cromford and the world famous Great Dorset Steam Fair. Today, following on from recommendations from many people I've met through the traction engine circuit, I decided to visit the well known Welland Steam Rally near Malvern. Welland attracts exhibits from far & wide and this year saw a particularly strong line up due to the shows 50th anniversary. Welland is about 60 miles from home and so I set off at about 8am, arriving at the show in warm sunshine at about 9:30am. Having queued in and bought a ticket, I ambled through the gate and into the first field. A sight that greeted me straight away was 0-6-0 Haydock Foundry tank "Bellerophon" from the Foxfield Railway. Welland has a standard gauge demonstration line and "Bellerophon", coupled to a Toad Brakevan, would be giving rides throughout the weekend: great stuff. All around the 0-6-0 stood engines steaming up ready for the day...
Having enjoyed a breakfast bap from one of the many food stands, I decided to take a stroll through the miniature engine section. 28 varying miniatures were on display, none of which I might add had been to my do at Market Bosworth. However, one of them that I had already actually been in talks over via email was a beautiful 6" McLaren, modelled as "Boadicea". This engine will hopefully be joining us in April for the 2015 event and was a wonderful thing to look at...
Walking around the show there were various examples of traction engines, steam rollers, steam lorries, portables, cars, tractors and motorcycles. There was a huge variation of things to see, most of which were in action even on this, the first day of the 3-day event. The Garrett single below was, so I was told, on a visit from Ireland in 'just outshopped' condition. Wearing a shining red livery it did look the bee's knee's...
Here we see Mr Gregory with his latest acquisition; a lovely Fowler Agricultural named "Blackjack"...
Over in the working field there was a 2ft gauge railway as well as ploughing engines and a road making display carried out by an Aveling roller. Fowler ploughing engine "The Chief" of 1874 vintage, stands awaiting action...
"Blackjack" is seen here lining up alongside a Fowler roller and a very nice Burrell...
I was particularly impressed with the Hovis steam lorry which was a nicely painted Sentinel under-type wagon...
"The Hovis Sentinel Lorry with an Aveling Roller Going Mad Behind"
Down in the vintage fairground, as per tradition, there were a good few examples of the popular Showmans engines. Big names included "Ex Mayor" and "Carry On" to name but a few. Here are just five of the engines lining up in the fair...
The wonderful blue livery of "Ex Mayor" makes her stand out in the fairground. Built in 1925, "Ex Mayor" is a Scenic Showmans. The term Scenic denotes the use of two dynamo's on the engine. One dynamo 'excites' the other and helped to start the heavy new Scenic rides that were coming into action at the time of "Ex Mayor"s build. The Scenic Showmans are probably regarded as the final and best development of the Showmans Engine and they are almost certainly the most powerful in terms of generating...
"Burrell Scenic Showmans Road Locomotive "Ex Mayor"
Leaving the fairground behind I decided to walk back over the scorching rally field to have a closer look at "Bellerophon". As I got nearer the mutterings from the enthusiasts got more and more numerous. A railway in their midst was certainly not to certain peoples interest I would gather. The Haydock 0-6-0 was referred to as, "the train". "The old train is going well, ay" was a popular line! Now, I must say, what a beautifully elegant engine this is. Built in 1874 and one of the oldest standard gauge steam loco's in regular use, "Bell" (as she is affectionately known by her crews) employs interesting outside Stephenson's link valve gear and has a Well Tank. She is a very nicely proportioned engine and I really like her...
As I got nearer to the temporary 'Pallet Platform' I realised that I recognised certain faces that were part of the 'railway crew'. Sure enough some of the Foxfield lads included some of the Pontypool guys who I met when I went with "Sir Gomer" to Wales back in 2011. They were only too pleased to enthuse about both "Gomer" and "Bell"...
I then found myself offered a footplate ride on "Bell" which I snapped up. I was pleased even to see the engine let alone ride on her footplate. Great stuff!...
"Getting Away from the Bottom"
The loco rolled easily down the fairly graded demo line before coming to a stop at the bottom on the handbrake. The driver then gave her a bit to get her going but she didn't need much with just a Toad behind. The loco is used to pulling heavy trains up the 1 in 19 of Foxfield bank and so a Toad up a field is hardly anything to write home about. The large boiler on "Bellerophon" is complimented by a large firebox and I was told that steaming is never an issue with her. What a lovely old engine...
"A Last Look at Bellerophon"
Having thanked the Foxfield guys for my footplate ride with "Bellerophon" I headed back over to the working field where 0-8-0 side tank No15 of 2ft gauge descent was working on the road making railway. No15 was shunting wagons loaded with heavy stone up and down for the public's entertainment. This large tank engine was visiting from the North Gloucestershire Railway at Toddington...
Having chatted to a few more people that I knew about the place, I headed down towards the arena in anticipation of the "Miniature Steam Parade". Some of the miniatures were already gathering ready for the off...
By about 2:30pm the heat was getting to me and I decided to head off for home. My final view was of the miniatures gathered together in the arena...
"The Miniature Ensemble"
All in all guys a great show and I was very pleased that I visited Welland. Maybe one day I will visit again, who knows. I was certainly impressed with the various displays on offer as there was lots to see. It always seems hard to write a post about a steam rally as you just can't include words and pictures documenting everything as there's just too much. I hope though that in this post I've managed to capture Welland in a good light and show it off to be a great event. Cheers guys, Sam...

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