One of the good things about doing this job (in addition to the fantastically long hours!!) is the ability to pass on good news!
The Titanic brewery (our local one!) has kindly agreed to provide a full real-ale bar during the event. From the description provided, this bar appears to be a mini-beer festival in its own right!!
Visitors to previous galas will no doubt have sampled the excellent “Rough Shunter” and “Twisted Link” that Titanic provided for us. We are pleased to report that these always go down well (especially during a special event).
Why not say hello to the friendly bar staff – they will be located in our large event marquee.
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.
The Moseley Railway Trust has – for the second year – been operating a temporary railway at the War & Peace Revival military (mega) show in Folkestone.
This year, Apedale resident Motor Rail 2197 was joined by Amberley’s MR1381 “open” 40hp Simplex- which was even repainted for the event. The gathering of these locos and the British Class D & P open wagons, plus a typical trench tramway water carrying wagon, provided some tantalising tasters for our own event in September!
The Tracks to the Trenches event team are extremely pleased to announce the participation of a Rolls-Royce Armoured car! This replica, based upon a 1925 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost chassis is kindly being provided to us by His Grace, the Duke of Westminster through the Grosvenor Estate. We are also extremely grateful to the AA, who are generously transporting the vehicle to our venue for the weekend.
Convinced of the huge potential of the Rolls-Royce cars in battle, the 2nd Duke of Westminster commanded the initial squadron of Rolls-Royces which he had bought, armoured and transported at his own expense! In September 1914 all available Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost chassis were requisitioned to form the basis for the new armoured car – which was basically the standard road chassis with modified springs. The following month, a special committee of the Admiralty Air Department, among whom was Flight Commander T.G. Hetherington, designed the superstructure which consisted of armoured bodywork and a single fully rotating turret holding a regular water cooled 0.3 Vickers medium machine gun. During active campaigns, his chauffeur (George Powell) often drove the Duke around in his own open top Rolls tourer with a machine gun mounting, but was otherwise unmodified or protected.
Origianlly allocated to the Admiralty, Six RNAS Rolls-Royce squadrons were eventually formed of 12 vehicles each: one went to France; one to Africa to fight in the German colonies and in April 1915 two went to Gallipoli. The first three Rolls-Royce armoured vehicles were delivered on 3 December 1914, although by then the mobile period on the Western Front, had already come to an end with the advent of Trench Warfare. Of limited use on narrow French lanes and the fighting front firmly “dug-in”, these armoured cars were soon deployed to other fronts. From August 1915 these RNAS squadons were all disbanded and the vehicles handed over to the Army, which then used them in the Light Armoured Motor Batteries of the Machine Gun Corps.
They were famously used to great effect in the desert by Colonel T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) in his operations against the Turkish forces. He called his unit of armoured Rolls-Royces “more valuable than rubies” in helping win his Revolt in the Desert. This impression lasted with him for the rest of his life; when asked by a journalist what he thought would be the thing he would most value he said “I should like my own Rolls-Royce car with enough tyres and petrol to last me all my life”.
The Moseley Railway Trust is delighted to announce a preservation first at the Tracks to the Trenches Gala. For the first time, a re-union of each of the four different types of War Department Light Railway “Motor Rail” locomotives will take place.
These pioneering little locomotives made a huge contribution to the Allied war effort during World War One. They were used to move supplies and men from marshalling yards right up to the front line.
The smallest of these was the 20HP tractor – on which the driver was fully exposed to both the elements and the effects of enemy fire. Surviving accounts tell of hair-raising exploits including trains disappearing into newly-created shell holes. There will be at least three, maybe more, 20HP tractors in operation at Tracks to the Trenches – one of these will be visiting Apedale from the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway.
The other three types were all 40HP, powered by a Dorman four-cylinder petrol engine. The three types were:-
The Open version. This had steel ends, and a simple roof supported on four poles. The Open version will be represented by loco No.1381, which will visit Tracks to the Trenches courtesy of the Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre in West Sussex.
The Protected version, which added steel doors and a much more substantial roof to the design. Apedale resident No.1369 will fly the flag for the Protected. This loco was restored a few years ago on the “Salvage Squad” TV programme, and recently spend a period on display in the Dutch railway museum in Utrecht.
Finally, the Armoured locos, which were intended for the most hazardous duties, and afforded the driver a reasonable degree of protection from small arms fire and the like. Loco 461 is a unique survivor of this design, which resembles a small tank on rails. This locomotive visits the event courtesy of the Greensand Railway Museum Trust and the Leighton Buzzard Light Railway.
Phil Robinson, MRT Chairman, said “This meeting of the Motor Rails will be a preservation first, and something which the event organising team and the various locomotive owners have worked very hard to arrange. This is yet another reason why Tracks To The Trenches should be firmly written into every railway enthusiast’s diary!”
On-line ticketing is now available for the event – tickets bought on-line avoid the gate queues and qualify for a free copy of the event guide. Tickets can also be bought for a night-time photoshoot on Friday 12th September, and for the very limited number of “Access All Areas” passes, giving unparalleled out-of-hours and behind the scenes access, ideal for the keen photographer.