Whilst we hadn’t planned a second round of First World War related activity in 2016, the opportunity to borrow some of the equipment belonging to the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railway and Moseley Railway Trust members, whilst it was on the road, has given us an opportunity too good to miss. With an ever-growing ‘Power from the Past’ weekend (second weekend of June) and the July Somme commemorations, we are able to make the most of this opportunity and hope that visitors will enjoy seeing this equipment in operation. A public photographic evening is also mooted for the Somme weekend – more details on this later.
Below: Last week the two densely packed lorry loads of rolling stock arrived, containing two locomotives, one powered trolley and three waggons, plus the items from here that had been to the Tracks to the Trenches 2 event at Apedale.
Below: Unloading and subsequent shunting was greatly aided by the fact the Baldwin, Moelwyn, could be started and used straight away. Quite a revelation to those of us here used to years of steam arrivals!
Below: Mary Ann is the second 40HP Simplex to visit this year, seen here in very unfamiliar surroundings.
Below: Moelwyn shunts the waggons after they had been unloaded.
Below: Once shunting was complete, Moelwyn was taken around the railway to check clearances etc. It also gave it a chance to venture onto the new panel of track at the bufferstop at Pockerley, where it met a new variety of transport it hasn’t previously encountered…
Below: This is Busta, the self-propelled inspection trolley. These trolleys were manufactured by companies such as Fairbanks & Morse, or Wickham in the UK, being used for track inspection or rapid transport of the more senior ranks. They were used extensively on the civilian railways in the USA, inspecting routes where timed running (rather than block sections) was in force and where natural occurrences might render routes blocked or hazardous. Busta was purchased by the renowned Col Stephens in the 1920s, for use on the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland routes. In recent years it has received a restoration to remove the many and varied modifications it had been subject to in its working life both pre and post preservation. It had something of a reputation for ‘exciting’ journeys, though our railway will ensure things are rather tamer when it operates here!
Below: The Moseley Railway Trust has rebuild an A and B wagon as part of its reconstruction of WDLR rolling stock, these two examples being with us for our June and July events. The family resemblance to the larger bogie D and F waggons (as visited us in April) can clearly be seen.
Below: Staying with us until April 2017 is this USA built ‘Pershing’ bogie waggon – the US Army equivalent of the D, E or F waggons. This is what the Baldwin tractors (represented by Moelwyn) would have worked with, whilst Mary Ann is well suited to the A and B waggons seen above. We hope to place some interesting and appropriate loads on this waggon over the year at the various events for which the narrow gauge line will be operating.
Below: Some driver familiarisation later in the week provided the opportunity to show visitors the WW1 allied stock used by the US Army. Moelwyn obliges here.
Below: Finally, Edward Sholto has now been loaded onto the standard gauge flat waggon and placed on display inside the Colliery engine shed, pending its re-tube later on. This scene is rather reminiscent of those photographs of contracting engines placed aboard road trailers, hauled by traction engines, for movement between jobs. Needless to say, when shunted, the loco is secured to the waggon with straps.