Perhaps one of the most photographed locomotives at “Tracks to the trenches 2014” was an out-of-use, little 20hp Bent-Frame tractor that was located in a shell hole near the main field area. This certainly attracted much comment and was a surprice (previously unadvertised) feature.
Forward area light railways and tramways were often operated under the cover of darkness. Being so close to the front, they were always easy targets for the enemy, and were often damaged through shelling. According to contemporary reports, although the tracks were regularly inspected, it was not uncommon for locomotives and trains to often become de-railed through recent enemy action. When this happened, the priority was to remove any ammunition and get the railway operating again. Locomotives could be left for days/weeks until there was an opportunity for recovery (again – mainly at night!).
These little 20hp tractors were sometimes known as “Wizz-Bangs” (also the name for in-bound enemy shells) – due to their high speed/acceleration and their regular tendancy to back-fire. They were a particular favourite with the railway/tramway operating companies.
Our cameo scene represented a locomotive that had been driven into a previously unseen shell hole at night. Whilst awaiting recovery, the railway had been diverted around it and the wagons long since removed.
The aim of this little scene was to provide a poignant reminder of the risks that the Light Railway and Tramway companies were taking every day, in their continual battle to keep the men in the trenches and the guns supplied.
The BIG weekend has been and gone all too fast, leaving some of us somewhat shell-shocked.
There has been much positive feedback – it seems as though we got something right. Overtime we hope to provide a gallery of images and a comprehensive list of links to show what “Tracks to the Trenches: 1914 – 2014” presented. In the interim – please see the photo below as some evidence that it really did happen!
Hudswell collecting a light railway supply train at Apedale Road, with Baldwin 778 on the rear.
A BIG thank you to all visitors, volunteers, exhibitors, traders, equipment owners and supporters for helping us stage a truly memorable event. We hope that everyone will take a few moments to consider the work of the light railway and tramway companies during WW1, especially on Remembrance day in November.
The steady stream of arrivals of exhibits for Tracks to the Trenches has continued.
Our friends in Skegness, the Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway Historic Vehicles Trust have sent a Class P Ration Wagon, which makes an interesting contrast with the similar wagon from Amberley which arrived a few weeks ago via the War and Peace show. The two Welsh Highland Heritage Railway locos – Motor Rail 264 and Baguley 760 arrived in some style. MR264 is, of course, the oldest Motor Rail in Great Britain.
Finally, and perhaps best of all, the long-awaited arrival of HC1238 – the Trust’s Very Own Steam loco – took place. This, along with the Joffre and Brigadelok – took part in a photo charter, and very good it all seemed to. Many, many Pixels were harmed during the day.
In other news, our genuine First world war wagon fleet continues to swell – with several large projects nearing completion. This is perhaps just as well, since the event opens on Friday!
We are pleased to confirm that 2 more locomotives have now been added to the line-up at Tracks to the Trenches.
Armoured MotorRail 435 of 1917 (WD number 2156) is coming to us from the Ffestiniog Railway/Mike Hart – this locomotive, exported to St Kitts after WW1, was re-built to its current form a few years ago and is normally resident on the Ffestiniog Railway. As a 1917 built Motor Rail, and a very low works number, we know that this machine saw active service in France during some of the main fighting.
The 2nd loco is somewhat different – A Kerr Stuart “Wren” (number 3114), built in Stoke-on-Trent in 1918 whilst Reginald Mitchell (designer of the Spitfire WW2 Aircraft) was serving his apprenticeship in the company. This is diminutive locomotive, representing the home-front, was built for the Ministry of Munitions and worked at an armaments dump in Driffield during the war. It has been restored and is normally based on the Vale of Rheidol railway. 3114 will also be accompanied to Apedale with a German Wasserwagen – these water tenders were often seen with the “Brigadelok” locomotives.
We are extremely grateful to both organisations for their help and support towards Tracks to the Trenches.
Time is certainly speeding up as we approach the start of the Tracks to the Trenches event!
The last weekend has again seen terriffic progress on-site and after much blood, sweat and tears (mostly the event organisers!) we are very pleased to announce that the Tracks now really do reach the trenches!!!!
Below are a couple of photos of the latest arrivals to site. More to come, watch this space….
Today (1st September) is the deadline for advance ordinary ticket sales – local schools are still able to group-book until 5th September (please contact us – we will do our best to help).
Advance tickets are still available direct from our on-site station shop on Saturday 6th September.
If you are part of the organising team, you would be thinking that the Tracks to the Trenches event is getting dangerously close!
As the event opening is getting ever closer, we are able to see much visible progress on all fronts. Below are just a small selection of photos of recent developments. New railway, new loco, re-activated loco…… all coming to an event near you very soon!! Advance purchase tickets are still available until 1st September. The Group booking deadline has also been extended until 1st September & local schools can book until 5th September (just into term-time!). Please see here.