It’s been a bit manic down the Valley in the last few days!! Two of the stars of the Tracks to the Trenches event this weekend have joined us – the Baldwin from Leighton Buzzard and the Hesketh Bank Joffre.
Apparently our local coal merchant heard that we now had two Joffre-class locos on site and was seen reaching for the holiday brochure.
The horse people have been with us, rehearsing for the horse haulage demonstration using our newly-manufactured swingletree.
Finally, we had a slightly unexpected visit by what seemed to be the entire loco fleet of a Scotrtish peatworks; one loco was unloaded and the rest disappeared as quickly as they arrived!
So, 4 hours to go the the big event opening – see you there?
The Tracks to the Trenches event is shaping up well, despite the recent flurry of activity with rail exhibits we have not forgotten other forms of transport and Logistics!
We are very pleased to confirm the attendance of a 1915 horse hauled “General Service” (GS) Wagon and horses from the Royal Logisitics Corps museum on active display. This wagon was built by the well-known railway firm of Metropolitan Carriage and wagon. These road-going wagons were the equivalent of the narrow gauge railway wagons.
We have very recently been able to add a War Department Foden Steam lorry (kindly provided by Mike Wilkinson, Alan Atkinson and Graham Townsend) to our line-up. This will again create a fine sight driving around the event.
We are also very pleased to welcome back the 16th Lancers display troop to our event (Saturday and Sunday only). They will again be displaying horsemanship in our event arena.
Finally, watch out for various displays of pack horses (utilising the new Carey’s water carriers!) around the site and horse haulage of our onw First World War Railway wagons!
Amongst the many and varied tasks this weekend (mainly quite tiring), we have seen the influx of railway exhibits start – some visitors and some new residents.
The first of these was a new locomotive arriving on Friday (6th May). This is a Baldwin tractor, of the type very popular with French and American forces; the locos is currently standard gauge, having been regauged from 2’0″ gauge at some stage early in its (War Surplus) life. When built, this loco and the Ffestiniog’s Moelwyn would have been similar if not identical. A group of Trust members have imported this loco from a scrapyard in Switzerland. So, Tracks to the Trenches will offer a unique opportunity to see the UK’s only two Baldwin tractors together. The event will also be the only chance to see the Apedale Baldwin before restoration commences – which could be a long road ahead.
Arriving on Sunday was the recently completed British Class A open wagon, followed by the 10hp Baguley and 1916 20hp Simplex locos from our friends at the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway in Porthmadog.
Today saw the arrival of “Mary Ann”, “Moelwyn” and Busta – direct from their escapades in France. All 3 of these are courtesy of the Ffestiniog Railway
6 locos and 1 historic wagon in 4 days. More to come over the next few days……
….we always seem to restore more wagons!
This year is no exception, the images below show the progress being made with the French Artillery Pechot well-wagon and the British Army Class A 4 wheel wagon.
This first photo shows the progress with the Class A wagon. The Class A, B and C were the first standard types of wagons specifically produced for the British forces in 1916, when the official orders finally came through to use tactical light railways. This restoration follows the important restoration in 2014 of the similar Class B wagon.
In recognition of the 100 year anniversary of the British Army formally adopting light railways in preference to other transport in forward areas, we are proud to be the only UK railway to demonstrate an authentic 1916 train from that moment. Watch out for these Class A & B wagons being paired with a 1916 Simplex or our 1916 Hudswell Clarke steam locomotive during the event.
The second photo shows the rapid progress with the 1888 dated Pechot well wagon. The Pechot wagon was delivered to Apedale, and partially restored in advance of Tracks to the Trenches 2014. However, although usable, it still required further attention to the body and replacement of missing bits!
Watch out for more to come in the next few days!
Late exhibit entries are coming in now for Tracks to the Trenches. We are delighted to announce two real celebrity machines will be making a first-time visit to Apedale.
They are the Ffestiniog Railway’s 40HP Simplex (once known as Mary Ann) and Moelwyn – the UK’s only surviving example of one of the Baldwin tractors which were very popular with American and Canadian forces during WW1. Being FR locos, their wheel standards are alsightly incompatible with the railway a…t Apedale – so they MAY be static display or very limited operation – testing will decide.
There’s still just a few days to buy advance tickets. The deal is pretty good – you get to skip the queue, and get the guidebook thrown in. The guidebook is £4, and is really nice – so you get £13 worth of ticket and book for £9, and quick entry. A bargain if ever there was one. We’ve also still got a few Access All Areas passes left. Closing date for advance ticket sales is 1st May, so stop messing around and go to the Tickets page with your credit card in hand!!
We are pleased to announce the participation of the “Soldiers to Schools” program from the British Army on Friday 13th May, which is available for school visits. They will provide some expert insight and a selection of First World War replica equipment young people to handle.
Prospective school visit co-ordinators – please feel free to contact us with your requirements. We are here to help!
To add a further dimension to the Tracks to the Trenches event and to provoke the enquiring mind, we are also very pleased to release the FREE 2016 educational pack.
This is now available for download in our Education section – here