The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway is holding its Heritage Diesel Gala from Friday, 29th to Sunday,31st July when it will celebrate vintage diesel traction from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.
Seven historic diesel locomotives will be operating to an intensive timetable on the 14-mile railway between Cheltenham Racecourse and Broadway. Six of the locomotives are from the GWSR’s own heritage diesel fleet, plus one very special visitor.
The visiting locomotive is Class 55 Deltic No.55019 Royal Highland Fusilier. Deltics were synonymous with high-speed services along the East Coast Main Line between London King’s Cross and Edinburgh between 1961 and 1981, but this will be the first time that a Deltic has worked over the former Stratford-upon-Avon to Cheltenham main line.
Up to ten trains will run to Broadway each day, with extra services between Toddington and Cheltenham Racecourse giving a full 28-mile round trip on most services.
At Toddington, there will be a chance to visit the diesel maintenance shed and see up-close immaculately restored class 37 locomotive No.D6948 and 1959-built class No.26 26043, both of which are undergoing overhaul. Also on display will be class 20 No.20228 and railcar W55003, which was built in Gloucester.
The following locomotives are expexted to be operating during the gala:
- Class 55 No.55019 Royal Highland Fusilier (built 1961);
- Class 20 No.20137 (built 1966);
- Class 24 No.5081 (built 1960 – the same year that the last steam loco was built for British Railways);
- Class 37 No.37215 (built 1963);
- Class 45 No.45149 (built 1961);
- Class 47 No.47105 (built 1963);
- Class 47 No.47376 Freightliner 1995 (built 1965).
Full information, including details of all the locomotives running as well as advanced ticket sales and the timetable, can be found on the event pages of the railway’s website, at www.gwsr.com.
Peter Smith, the diesel gala organiser for the GWSR, said:
“While many people come to the GWSR to enjoy our fine steam locomotives, there is a fast-growing interest in the historic diesel traction that took over from steam from the late 1950s. At the GWSR’s Toddington workshops one of the UK’s finest fleets of heritage diesels is restored and maintained. This is an opportunity to celebrate the economic contribution locomotives like these made to the country between the days of steam and the modern services that we are familiar with today.
“These are types that worked the length and breadth of the UK handling prestigious inter-city express services, moving Britain’s freight, and everything in between.”
“There will be something for everyone – for families looking for a great day out as well as for the railway enthusiast. It’s an opportunity to re-live the atmosphere of travelling by British Rail (remember them?) from 50 and 60 years ago and witness many locomotive types that have long disappeared from the main line. The 1960s, 70s, and 80s live again!”