Four star locos on track for September steam up!
The line-up for the Great Slate Quarry Fest to be held at the Leighton Buzzard Railway on September 15 and 16, has now been confirmed, and it will feature no fewer than three Quarry Hunslet 0-4-0STs so typical of the slate industry.
Heading the list is Edward Sholto (HE 996/1909), formerly of Penrhyn Quarries, which was repatriated from the USA in 2006 by Andrew Neale, one of the pioneers of the movement to return narrow-gauge locomotives from North American exile. It was restored to working order in 2010, and is intended by its owner to be used mostly on demonstration freight trains.
There should therefore be a rare chance to experience it on passenger duties during its stay in Bedfordshire.
Completing the Hunslet 0-4-0ST line-up will be two new-builds, Statfold (HE 3903/2005) and Jack Lane (HE 3904/2006)both making their first visits to the Leighton Buzzard Railway.
Already announced is the planned appearance of the vertical-boilered Chaloner (DeW /1877) in its original hooded locomotive guise, with a rudimentary cab to protect the crew from the weather. In their day, the Caernarfon-built products of De Winton were as typical slate industry motive power as the Hunslets were a generation later.
To complete the theme, resident War Department 4-6-0T No 778 (BLW 44656/1917) will recall the three war-surplus Baldwin 2-6-2Ts used at Penrhyn Quarries during the 1920s, one of which is now preserved in France.
An intensive passenger service is scheduled for both days, with engine changes at each end of the line to allow maximum opportunity to travel behind a variety of rare motive-power combinations.
Locomotives will pose for photos with slate wagons during the Stonehenge Works stopovers, where working scale models will offer rides on the miniature line.
LBR spokesman Mervyn Leah said: September is traditionally a busy month for narrow-gauge events, and what is planned for this year, in various parts of the country, looks like being better than ever. Maybe we can even start to interest some die-hard main-line fans!
We are particularly grateful to Andrew Neale for making his celebrity locomotive available to us, and to Graham Lee for offering us use of his locos on a weekend when Statfold will have an event of their own.
Posted on: 08/08/2012