The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR) has announced the full line-up of locomotives for this year’s ‘Cotswold Festival of Steam’ will have the theme ‘Somerset & Dorset Remembered’.
On the Spring bank holiday weekend of Friday, 3rd to Sunday, 5th June, the railway expects to have nine locomotives in steam.
A variety of services will work to an intensive timetable over the 14-mile line, including double-heading, non-stop runs, demonstration freight trains, and shunting at Winchcombe station.
Visiting locomotives will include:
- BR Standard 9F class 2-10-0 no. 92203 Black Prince; for some years, this locomotive was a resident on the GWSR
- Rebuilt SR West Country class 4-6-2 no. 34028 Eddystone, from 1959 to 1962 Eddystone was based at Bournemouth, and worked regularly over the S&D.
- LMS-designed Ivatt class 2 2-6-2T no. 41312. Several of these were delightful tank engines were based at Bath Green Park, Templecombe, and Bournemouth, where 41312 was based.
- LMS-designed Ivatt class 2MT 2-6-0 no. 46521. This locomotive had no association with the S&D, but is on loan to the GWSR for the summer months.
- Sentinel 4wvb no. 7109 Joyce. This bears little resemblance to a conventional steam locomotive; the S&D bought two similar locomotives for shunting at Radstock. Joyce will be employed shunting throughout the event at Winchcombe station.
Resident locomotives in steam will be:
- Rebuilt SR Merchant Navy class 4-6-2 no. 35006 Peninsular & Oriental SN Co.
- Modified Hall class 4-6-0 no. 7903 Foremarke Hall.
- Manor class 4-6-0 no. 7820 Dinmore Manor.
- GWR 4200 class 2-8-0T no. 4270. The oldest locomotive working over the weekend, this locomotive was built in 1919.
All locomotives are subject to availability.
A range of other attractions include displays; model railway; preservation society stands; beer tent, and refreshments. The Toddington Narrow Gauge Railway will be running, there will be ‘behind the scenes’ visits to Toddington locomotive works and Winchcombe Carriage & Wagon works; opportunities for footplate rides, and freight train brake-van rides.
Advance tickets are on sale at at the GWSR website and will also be available on the day.
Footplate rides will need to be booked in advance, while brake van rides will be offered on a first-come, first served basis during the event.
GWSR spokesman Ian Crowder commented: “This is shaping up to be an especially exciting and spectacular event after a two-year gap in our annual ‘Cotswold Festival of Steam’, thanks to the pandemic. The ‘Somerset & Dorset’ theme was planned for our 2020 Festival which, of course, had to be cancelled.
“Four of our five visiting engines were associated with the former Somerset & Dorset line, a challenging route over the Mendips between Bournemouth and Bath. This was a delightful and busy railway that provided direct (and the shortest) access to the South Coast from the Midlands via Somerset. It was heavily used by holiday traffic from the Midlands and North but fell victim to the infamous Beeching cuts of the 1960s. It is much missed – especially by those in the communities it once served.
“Our small organising team is hugely grateful to all of the owners for enabling their locomotives to visit the GWSR for this special event.”
Ian added that an additional feature will be the Bentley once owned by the late photographer, Ivo Peters. “During the latter years of the S&D many outstanding photographs of trains in the Mendips were taken by Ivo Peters. He often included his Bentley in the pictures he took. The car is now owned by Julian Birley BEM, and we are delighted that he is able to bring the car to the event.”
Julian Birley is currently Chairman of the Bala Lake Railway Trust and former Chairman of North Norfolk Railway plc.