Churnet Valley Railway gears up for diesel gala

31271 // Credit A1A Locomotives Ltd
31271 // Credit A1A Locomotives Ltd

The Churnet Valley Railway has announced that they are getting ready for its second enthusiast event of 2019.

Excitement is building for the diesel gala as the guest for the event as arrived in Staffordshire ahead of the appearance.

British Rail Class 31 no. 31271 “STRATFORD 1840-2001” has arrived and will be visiting the line for the diesel gala and will be operating the full ten miles of the railway between Froghall and Ipstones.

Not only will the locomotive be making its debut on the Churnet Valley Railway, but it is also the class debut. It is the first Brush Type 2 to run along the Churnet Valley Railway in preservation.

31271 was initially bought by A1A Locomotives as a source of spares in 1998 for their other Class 31s. It was purchased by them from EWS Railways and transferred from Toton to the Midland Railway Butterley where the locomotive was placed on display. In 2000 it was decided to restore the locomotive, return to service happened in April 2002 and following bodywork repairs, the locomotive was named at the National Railway Museum at their RailFest 200 in 2004.  Since repairs, 31271 has performed well at the Nene Valley Railway, though now she is moving to the Llangollen Railway on a 2 year period.

31271 arrived at Froghall on Thursday 4th April 2019 and has now undergone a test run to make sure it is fit for service. It has now passed this test and is now awaiting its public debut at the railway’s diesel gala, which takes place during the May Day Bank Holiday weekend of May 4/5/6, where it will join resident diesel locomotives to provide an intense timetable.

This will be the only event to experience a Class 31 along the Churnet Valley Railway, as the locomotive will be moving to Llangollen following the completion of the gala.

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