After a long absence because of the pandemic, Nuclear Transport Solutions' (NTS) rail division, DRS, held the event on Saturday 16th July at DRS's Gresty Bridge rail depot. Although gates did not open until 10 am, visitors began queuing from 8.00.
The day raised over £39,000 for DRS's sponsorship and donations fund, an absolutely outstanding figure which will go a long way to help deserving causes across the UK. There was plenty to keep the whole family entertained with the opportunity to sit in a real locomotive cab, get up close to working engines, witness a heritage locomotive start, nameplate auction, kids' face painting, and much more.
Two very important locomotive namings took place during the event.
The first saw Class 66 locomotive 66422 named Max Joule as a tribute to one of DRS's founders and its Managing Director until his tragic death in 1999. The nameplate was unveiled by NTS Chair Wanda Goldwag, DRS Rail Director and NTS Deputy CEO Chris Connelly, and Nuclear Decommissioning Authority CEO David Peattie. They all paid tribute to Max's lasting legacy, and to honour the man who laid the foundations of the company we see today.
The second naming was very emotional for all involved when locomotive 66424 was named Driver Paul Scrivens. Paul was a driver at DRS for over 20 years, and was well-known and well-liked by all who knew him until his very sad death last year. His colleague and friend Tim Howlett gave a personal account of Paul before Paul's sister Emma unveiled the new plate, which will see his name continue on the railways he loved so much. It was an emotional moment but a fitting tribute to one of the railway's finest drivers and friend to all.
Wanda Goldwag, NTS Chair, said: “It's the first time I've been to such an event and I have to say it was absolutely fantastic. The atmosphere was filled with excitement and it was just marvellous to see so many budding young Train Drivers and Engineers fascinated by all the engines and equipment on display.
“The fact it is all done for deserving causes makes it even more worthwhile and I'm looking forward to seeing all the great work this money can do for the communities in which we operate.
“It was a huge honour to be involved with both locomotive namings and I'll be looking out for the engines running across our rail network for years to come.
“I want to say a huge ‘thank you' to everyone who came along and all of our staff volunteers for making the event such a special day.”