Just after sunrise, and the first rays, softly, lighting up the exhaust, of Ex-Southern Railway Class M7 0-4-4T No.53, aka No.30053, as she scuttles along, light engine, from Loughborogh to Quorn & Woodhouse during a Great Central Railway gala weekend – and coming up this weekend, hopefully a repeat performance, though not with No.53. However, No 1501 or No. 7820 Dinmore Manor are great substitutes, all that glinting brass and copperwork … mmmm!
Galas at the GCR are like no other, with trains nearly every 15 minutes from sunrise to sunset, goods, minerals, the TPO, and light engine movements, it is the nearest thing to ‘how it was’. To add to the eclectic mix of services, there’s a nice blend of semaphore and colour light signalling and a working turntable – with demonstration engine turnings to go with it.
This weekend, if the weather men are right, there might even be sun, steam, and snow – a more magical combination I cannot imagine. The weathered 8F No.48624, a fine rake of mineral empties, semaphore signals, clouds of billowing white exhaust – you can add your own day dreams I’m sure. In my book heritage railways, of whatever, size shape, or length are very much a dream come true. In 1968 I doubt if even the most far sighted and starry eyed enthusiasts ever dreamed that we’d have the numbers of engines and lines to run them on that we enjoy today.
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